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Member of Congress, Formerly United States Attorney 
for the Northern District of New York 

Vol. II 





VOL. ir 


I. Van Bukbn and Abolition. 1833-1837 ... 1 

II. Sewakd Elected Governob. 1836-1838 ... 15 

III. The Defeat op Van Buren for President. 1840 . 31 

IV. Humiliation of the Whigs. 1841-1842 ... 47 
V. Democrats Divide into Factions. 1843-1844 . . 56 

VI. Van Boren Defeated at Baltimore. 1844 . . 65 

VII. Silas Wright and Millard Fillmore. 1844 . . 76 

VIII. The Rise op John Young. 1845-1846 .... 90 

IX. Fourth Constitutional Convention. 1846 . . 103 

X. Defeat and Death of Silas Weight. 1846-1847 . 114 

XI. The Free-Soil Campaign. 1847-1848 . . . .128 

XII. Se-wabd Splits the Whig Party. 1849-1850 . . 145 

XIII. The Whigs' Waterloo. 1850-1853 . . .159 

XIV. The Hards and the Softs. 1853 . . . .180 
XV. A Breaking-up of Party Ties. 1854 . . . .190 

XVI. Formation op the Republican Party. 1854-1855 . 205 

XVII. First Republican Governor. 1856 .... 223 

XVIII. The Irrepressible Conflict. 1857-1858 . . .243 

XIX. Seward's Bid for the Presidency. 1859-1860 . . 256 

XX. Dean Richmond's Leadership at Charleston. 1860 270 

XXI. Seward Defeated at Chicago. 1860 . . . 281 

XXII. New York's Control at B.vltimore. 1860 . . 294 

XXIII. Raymond, Greeley, and Weed. 1860 . . . 305 

XXIV. Fight of the Fusionists. 1860 324 




XXV. Greeley, "Weed, and Secession. 1860-1861 

XXVI. Seymour and the Peace Democrats. 1860-1861 

XXVII. Weed's Revenge upon Greeley. 1861 

XXVIII. Lincoln, Seward, and the Union. 1860-1861 . 
XXIX. The Weed Machine Crippled. 1861 











After Van Buren's inauguration as Vice President, he 
made Washington his permanent residence, and again be- 
came the President's chief adviser. His eye was now intently 
fixed upon the White House, and the long, rapid strides, en- 
couraged by Jackson, carried him swiftly toward the 
goal of his ambition. He was surrounded by pow- 
erful friends. Edward Livingston, the able and accom- 
plished brother of the Chancellor, still held the offlce of sec- 
retary of state ; Benjamin F. Butler, his personal friend and 
former law partner, was attorney-general ; Silas Wright, the 
successor of Marcy, and Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, the elo- 
quent successor of the amiable Dudley, were in the United 
States Senate. Among the members of the House, Samuel 
Beardsley and Churchill C. Cambreling, firm and irrepress- 
ible, led the Administration's forces with conspicuous abil- 
ity. At Albany, Marcy was governor, Charles L. Livingston 
was speaker of the Assembly, Azariah C. Flagg state comp- 
troller, John A. Dix secretary of state, Abraham Keyser 
state treasurer, Edwin Croswell state printer and editor of 


the Argus, and Thomas W. Olcott the able financier of the 
Regency. All were displaying a devotion to the President, 
guided by infinite tact, that distinguished them as the organ- 
isers and disciplinarians of the party. "I do not believe," 
wrote Thurlow Weed, "that a stronger political organisation 
ever existed at any state capital, or even at the national cap- 
ital. They were men of great ability, great industry, indomi- 
table courage, and strict personal integrity."^ 

John A. Dix seemed destined from the first to leave an 
abiding mark in history. Very early in life he was distin- 
guished for executive ability. Although but a boy, he saw 
active service throughout the War of 1812, having been ap- 
pointed a cadet at fourteen, an ensign at fifteen, and a sec- 
ond lieutenant at sixteen. After the war, he served as aide- 
de-camp on the staff of General Brown, living at Fortress 
Monroe and at Washington, until feeble health led to his res- 
ignation in 1828. Then he began the practice of law at Coop- 
erstown. In 1830, when Governor Throop made him adju- 
tant-general, he removed to Albany. He was now twenty- 
six years old, an accomplished writer, a vigorous speaker, 
and as prompt and bold in his decisions as in 1861, when 
he struck the high, clear-ringing note for the Union in his 
order to shoot the first man who attempted to haul down 
the American flag. He was not afraid of any enterprise ; he 
was not abashed by the stoutest opposition ; he was not even 
depressed by failure. When the call came, he leaped up to 
sudden political action, and very soon was installed as a 
member of the Regency. 

Dix had one great advantage over most of his contempo- 
raries in political life — he was able to write editorials for 
the Argus. It took a keen pen to find an open way to its 
columns. Croswell needed assistance in these days of finan- 
cial quakings and threatened party divisions, but he would 
accept it only from a master. Until this time, Wright and 
Marcy had aided him. Their love for variety of subject, char- 
acteristic, perhaps, of the gifted writer, presented widely 
' Autobiography of Thurlow Weed, p. 103. 

1833] JOHN A. DIX 3 

diflEering themes, flavoured with humour and satire, making 
the paper attractive if not spectacular. To this work Dix, 
who had already published a Sketch of the Resources of the 
City of New York, now brought the freshness of a strong 
personality and the training of a scholar and linguist. He 
had come into public life under the influence of Calhoun, for 
whom the army expressed a decided preference in 1S28 ; but 
he never accepted the South Carolinian's theory of nullifica- 
tion. Dix had inherited loyalty from his father, an oflQcer 
in the United States army, and he was quick to strike for his 
country when South Carolina raised the standard of rebel- 
lion in 1861. 

There was something particularly attractive about John A. 
Dix in these earlier years. He had endured hardships and 
encountered dangers, but he had never known poverty ; and 
after his marriage he no longer depended upon the law or 
upon office for life's necessities. Educated at Phillips Exeter 
Academy, at the College of Montreal, and at St. Mary's Col- 
lege in Baltimore, he learned to be vigorous without egotism, 
positive without arrogance, and a man of literary tastes 
without affectation. Even long years of earnest controversy 
and intense feeling never changed the serene purity of his 
life, his lofty purposes, or the nobility of his nature. It is 
doubtful if he would have found distinction in the career 
of a man of letters, to which he was inclined. He had the 
learning and the scholarly ambition. Like Benjamin F. 
Butler, he could not be content with a small measure of 
knowledge. He studied languages closely, he read much of 
the world's literature in the original, and he could write on 
political topics with the firm grasp and profound knowledge 
of a statesman of broad views ; but he could not, or did not, 
turn his English into the realm of literature. Yet his Win- 
ter in Madeira and a Summer in Spain and Florence, pub- 
lished in 1850, ran through five editions in three years, and 
is not without interest to-day, after so many others, with 
defter pen, perhaps, have written of these sunny lands. His 
appointment as secretary of state in 1833 made him also 


state superintendent of common schools, and his valuable 
reports, published during the seven years he filled the ofSce, 
attest his intelligent devotion to the educational interests of 
New York, not less than his editorial work on the Argus 
showed his loyal attachment to Van Buren. 

But, despite the backing of President Jackson, and the 
influence of other powerful friends, there was no crying de- 
mand outside of New York for Van Buren's election to the 
Presidency. He had done nothing to stir the hearts of his 
countrymen with pride, or to create a pronounced, deter- 
mined public sentiment in his behalf. On the contrary, his 
weaknesses were as well understood without New York as 
within it. David Crockett, in his life of Van Buren, speaks 
of him as" "secret, sly, selfish, cold, calculating, distrustful, 
treacherous," and "as opposite to Jackson as dung is to a 
diamond." Crockett's book, written for campaign effect, was 
as scurrilous as it was interesting, but it proved that the 
country fully understood the character of Van Buren, and 
that, unlike Jackson, he had no great, redeeming, iron-willed 
quality that fascinates the multitude. Tennessee, the home 
State of Jackson, opposed him with bitterness ; Virginia de- 
clared that it favoured principles, not men, and that in sup- 
porting Van Buren it had gone as far astray as it would go ; 
Calhoun spoke of the Van Buren party as "a powerful fac- 
tion, held together by the hopes of plunder, and marching 
under a banner whereon is written 'to the victors belong the 
spoils.' " Everywhere there seemed to be unkindness, unrest, 
or indiOerence. 

Nevertheless, Van Buren's candidacy had been so persist- 
ently and systematically worked up by the President that, 
from the moment of his inauguration as Vice President, his 
succession to the Presidency was accepted as inevitable. It 
is doubtful if a man ever slipped into an ofiSce more easily 
than Martin Van Buren secured the Presidency. That there 
might be no failure at the last moment, a national demo- 
<?ratic convention, the second one in the history of the party, 
"was called to nominate him at Baltimore, in May, 1835, eight- 


een months before the election. When the time came, South 
Carolina, Alabama, and Illinois were unrepresented; Ten- 
nessee had one delegate, and Mississippi and Missouri only 
two each; but Van Buren's nomination followed with an 
ease and a unanimity that caused a smile even among the 
ofiSce-holding delegates. 

Indeed, slavery was the only thing in sight to disturb Van 
Buren. At present, it was not larger than a cloud "like a 
man's hand," but the agitation had begun seriously to dis- 
turb politicians. After the North had emerged from the Mis- 
souri struggle, chafed and mortified by the treachery of its 
own representatives, the rapidly expanding culture of cot- 
ton, which found its way in plenty to northern seaports, had 
apparently silenced all opposition. A few people, however, 
had been greatly disturbed by the ai"guments of a small num- 
ber of reformers, much in advance of their time, who were 
making a crusade against the whole system of domestic sla- 
very. Some of these men won honoured names in our his- 
tory. One of them was Benjamin Lundy. In 1815, when 
twenty-six years old, Lundy organised an anti-slavery as- 
sociation, known as the "Union Humane Society," and, in 
its support, he had traversed the country from Maine to 
Tennessee, lecturing, editing papers, and forming auxiliary 
societies. He was a small, deaf, unassuming Quaker, with- 
out wealth, eloquence, or marked ability; but he had cour- 
age, tremendous energy, and a gentle spirit. He had lived 
for a time in Wheeling, Virginia, where the horrors, insepa- 
rable from slavery, impressed him very much as the system 
in the British West Indies had impressed Zachary Macaulay, 
father of the distinguished essayist and historian ; and, like 
Macaulay, he ever after devoted his time and his abilities to 
the generous task of rousing his countrymen to a full sense 
of the cruelties practised upon slaves. 

In 1828, he happened to meet William Lloyd Garrison. 
Garrison's attention had not previously been drawn to the 
slavery question, but, when he heard Lundy's arguments, 
he joined him in Baltimore, demanding, in the first issue of 


The Genius, immediate emancipation as the right of the 
slave and the duty of the master. William Lloyd Garrison 
was young then, not yet twenty-three years of age, but he 
struck hard, and soon found himself in jail, in default of 
the payment of fifty dollars fine and costs for malicious libel. 
At the end of forty-nine days, Arthur Tappan, of New York 
City, paid the fine, and Garrison, returning to Boston, issued 
the first number of The Liberator on January 1, 1830. 

This opened the agitation in earnest. Garrison treated 
slavery as a crime, repudiating all creeds, churches, and 
parties which taught or accepted the doctrine that an inno- 
cent human being, however black or down-trodden, was not 
the equal of every other and entitled to the same inalienable 
rights. The South soon heard of him, and the Georgia Leg- 
islature passed an act offering a reward of five thousand 
dollars for his delivery into that State. Indictments of 
northern men by southern grand juries now became of fre- 
quent occurrence, one governor making requisition upon 
Governor Marcy for the surrender of Arthur Tappan, al- 
though Tappan had never been in a Southern State. The 
South, finding that long-distance threats, indictments, and 
offers of reward accomplished nothing, waked into action 
its northern sympathisers, who appealed with confidence to 
riot and mob violence. In New York City, the crusade 
opened in October, 1833, a mob preventing the organisation 
of an anti-slavery society at Clinton Hall. Subsequently, 
on July 4, 1834, an anti-slavery celebration in Chatham 
Street chapel was broken up, and five days later, the resi- 
dence of Lewis Tappan was forced open and the furniture 
destroyed. These outrages were followed by the destruction 
of churches, the dismantling of schoolhouses, and the loot- 
ing of dwellings, owned or used by coloured people. In Oc- 
tober, 1835, a committee of respectable citizens of Utica, 
headed by Samuel Beardsley, then a congressman and later 
chief justice of the State, broke up a meeting called to or- 
ganise a state anti-slavery society, and destroyed the print- 
ing press of a democratic journal which had spoken kindly 


of Abolitionists. The agitators, however, were in no wise dis- 
mayed or disheartened. It would have taken a good deal of 
persecution to frighten Beriah Green, or to confuse the con- 
science of Arthur Tappan. 

In the midst of such scenes came tidings that slavery had 
been abolished in the British West Indies, and that the 
Utica indignity had been signalised by the conversion of Ger- 
rit Smith. Theretofore, Smith had been a leading colonisa- 
tionist — thereafter he was to devote himself to the principles 
of abolitionism. Gerrit Smith, from his earliest years, had 
given evidence of precocious and extraordinary intelligence. 
Thurlow Weed pronounced him "the handsomest, the most 
attractive, and the most intellectual young man I ever met." 
Smith was then seventeen years old — a student in Hamilton 
College. "He dressed a la Byron," continues Weed, "and in 
taste and manners was instinctively perfect."^ His father 
was Peter Smith, famous in his day as one of the largest 
landowners in the United States; and, although this enor- 
mous estate was left the son in his young manhood, it neither 
changed his simple, gentle manners, nor the purpose of his 
noble life.* By profession, Gerrit Smith was a philanthro- 
pist, and in his young enthusiasm he joined the American 
Colonisation Society, organised in 1817, for the purpose of 
settling the western coast of Africa with emancipated blacks. 
It was a pre-eminently respectable association. Henry Clay 
was its president, and prominent men North and South, in 
church and in state, approved its purpose and its methods. 

'Autobiography of Thurlow Weed, p. 31. 

'"Many years ago I -was riding- with Gerrit Smith in northern 
New York. He suddenly stopped the carriage, and, looking around 
for a few minutes, said: 'We are now on some of my poor land, 
familiarly known as the John Brown tract;' and he then added, 'I 
own eight hundred thousand acres, of which this is a part, and all 
in one piece.' Everybody knows that his father purchased the most 
of it at sales by the comptrollers of state for unpaid taxes. He said 
he owned land in fifty-six of the sixty counties in New York. He 
was also a landlord in other States." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recol- 
lections, p. 189. 


In .1820 it purchased Sherbro Island ; but finding the loca- 
tion unfortunate, other lands were secured in the following 
year at Cape Mesurado, and about a thousand emigrants 
sent thither during the next seven years. Gerrit Smith, how- 
ever, found the movement too slow, if not practically 
stranded, by the work of the cotton-gin and the doctrine of 
Calhoun, that "the negro is better off in slavery at the South 
than in freedom elsewhere." So, in 1830, he left the society 
to those whose consciences condemned slavery, but whose 
conservatism restrained them from offensive activity. The 
society drifted along until 1847, when the colony, then num- 
bering six or seven thousand, declared itself an independent 
republic under the name of Liberia. In the meantime. Smith, 
unaided and alone, had provided homes in northern States, 
on farms of fifty acres each, for twice as many emancipated 
blacks, his gifts aggregating over two hundred thousand 

Gerrit Smith's conversion to abolitionism helped the 
anti-slavery cause, much as the conversion of St. Paul bene- 
fited the Christian church. He brought youth, courage, en- 
thusiasm, wealth, and marked ability. Although alienated 
from him for years because of his peculiar creed, Thurlow 
Weed refers in loving remembrance to "his great intellect, 
genial nature, and ample fortune, which were devoted to all 
good works." When the people of Utica, his native town, 
broke up the meeting called to form a state anti-slavery so- 
ciety, Smith promptly invited its projectors to his home at 
Peterborough, Madison County, where the organisation was 
completed. He was thirty-three years old then, and from 
that day until Lincoln's proclamation and Lee's surrender 
freed the negro, he never ceased to work for the abolition of 
slavery. The state organisation, nourished under his foster- 
ing care, led to greater activity. Anti-slavery societies began 
to form in every county and in most of the towns of some 
counties. Abolitionism did not take the place of anti-Ma- 
sonry, which was now rapidly on the wane ; but it awakened 
the conscience, setting people to thinking and, then, to talk- 


ing. The great contest to abolish slavery in the British West 
Indies, led by the Buxtons, the Wilberforces, and the Whit- 
breads, had aroused public indignation in the United States, 
as well as in England, by the overwhelming proofs that men 
and women were being constantly flogged; and that brand- 
ing female slaves on the breast with red-hot iron, was used 
as a means of punishment, as well as of identification. Other 
more revolting evidences of the horrors, which seemed to be 
the inevitable accompaniment of the slave system, found 
lodgment in American homes through the eloquence of the 
noted English abolition lecturer, George Thompson, then in 
this country; until the cruelties, characterising slavery in 
' Jamaica, were supposed and believed by many to be prac- 
tised in the Southern States. 

Naturally enough, the principal avenue between the pro- 
moter of anti-slavery views and the voter was the United 
States mails, and these were freighted with abolition docu- 
ments. It is likely that Harrison Gray Otis, the wealthy 
and aristocratic mayor of Boston, did not exaggerate when 
he advised the southern magistrate, who desired the suppres- 
sion of Garrison's Liberator, that "its office was an obscure 
hole, its editor's only visible auxiliary a negro boy, and his 
supporters a few insignificant persons of all colours;"* but 
the Southerners knew that from that "obscure hole" issued 
a paper of uncompromising spirit, which was profoundly im- 
pressing the people of the United States, and their journals 
and orators teemed with denunciations. The Richmond 
WMg characterised Abolitionists as "hell-hounds," warning 
the northern merchants that unless these fanatics were hung 
they would lose the benefit of southern trade. A Charleston 
paper threatened to cut out and "cast upon the dunghill" 
the tongue of any one who should lecture upon the evils or 
immorality of slavery. The Augusta Chronicle declared 
that if the question be longer discussed the Southern States 
would secede and settle the matter by the sword, as the only 
possible means of self-preservation. A prominent Alabama 
'Horace Greeley, T/ie American Conflict, Vol. 1, p. 122, note. 


clergyman advised hanging every man who favoured emanci- 
pation, and the Virginia Legislature called upon the non- 
slave-holding States to suppress abolition associations by 
penal statutes. 

In the midst of such sentiments, it was evident to Van 
Buren, whose election depended upon the Southern States, 
that something definite must be done, and that nothing 
would be considered definite by the South which did not aim 
at the total abolition of the anti-slavery agitator. Accord- 
ingly, his friends held meetings in every county in the State, 
adopting resolutions denouncing them as "fanatics and trait- 
ors to their country," and indorsing Van Buren "as a patriot 
opposed to the hellish abolition factions and all their 
heresies." Van Buren himself arranged for the great meet- 
ing at Albany at which Governor Marcy presided. "I send 
you the inclosed proceedings of the citizens of Albany," 
wrote Van Buren to the governor of Georgia, "and I au- 
thorise you to say that I concur fully in the sentiments they 

In commenting upon the Albany meeting, Thurlow Weed, 
with the foresight of a prophet, wrote in the Evening Jour- 
nal: "This question of slavery, when it becomes a matter 
of political controversy, will shake, if not unsettle, the foun- 
dations of our government. It is too fearful, and too mighty, 
in all its bearings and consequences, to be recklessly mixed 
up in our partisan conflicts."' When the Legislature con- 
vened, in January, 1836, Governor Marcy took up the ques- 
tion in his message. "I cannot doubt," he said, "that the 
Legislature possesses the power to pass such penal laws as 
will have the effect of preventing the citizens of this State, 
and residents within it, from availing themselves, with im- 
punity, of the protection of its sovereignty and laws, while 
they are actually employed in exciting insurrection and sedi- 
tion in a sister State, or engaged in treasonable enterprises, 
intending to be executed therein."" Not content with this 

' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 319. 

'Governors' Messages, January 5, 1836. 


show of loyalty to the South on the part of his friends, Van 
Buren secured the support of Silas Wright and Nathaniel 
P. Tallmadge for the bill, then pending in the United States 
Senate, prohibiting postmasters from knowingly transmit- 
ting or delivering any documents or papers relating to the 
abolition of slavery, and when the measure, on a motion for 
engrossment, received a tie vote, Van Buren cast the decisive 
vote in the affirmative.' 

Van Buren's prompt action gave him the confidence and 
support of three-fourths of the slave-holding States, without 
losing his hold upon the Democracy of the free States. In- 
deed, there was nothing new that the Whigs could oppose 
to Van Buren. They were not ready to take the anti-slavery 
side of the issue, and questions growing out of the bank 
controversy had practically been settled in 1832. This, there- 
fore, was the situation when the two parties in New York 
assembled in convention, in September, 1836, to nominate 
state candidates. Marcy and John Tracy were without op- 
position. From the first moment he began to administer the 
affairs of the State, Marcy must have felt that he had found 
his work at last. 

The Whigs were far from being united. Henry Clay's dis- 
inclination to become a nominee for President resulted in 
two Whig candidates, Hugh L. White of Tennessee, the fa- 
vourite of the southern Whigs, and William Henry Harrison, 
preferred by the Eastern, Middle, and Western States. This 
weakness was soon reflected in New York. Thurlow Weed 
was full of forebodings, and William H. Seward found his 

' "When the bill came to a vote in the Senate, although there was 
really a substantial majority against it, a tie was skilfully arranged 
to compel Van Buren, as Vice President, to give the casting vote. 
White, the Southern Democratic candidate so seriously menacing 
him, was in the Senate, and voted for the bill. Van Buren must, it 
was supposed, offend .the pro-slavery men by voting against the 
bill, or offend the North and perhaps bruise his conscience by vot- 
ing for it. When the roll was being called. Van Buren, so Benton 
tells us, was out of the chair, walking behind the colonnade at the 
rear of the Vice President's seat. Calhoun, fearful lest he might 


law oflBce more satisfactory than a candidate's berth. Like 
Clay he was perfectly willing another should bear 
the burden of inevitable defeat. So the Whigs put 
up Jesse Buel for governor, Gamaliel H. Barstow for 
lieutenant-governor, and an electoral ticket favourable to 

Jesse Buel was not a brilliant man. He was neither a 
thinker, like Seward, nor an orator, like Granger; but he 
was wise, wealthy, and eminently respectable, with enough 
of the statesman in him to be able to accept established facts 
and not to argue with the inexorable. Years before, he had 
founded the Albany Argus, editing it with ability and great 
success. Through its influence he became state printer, suc- 
ceeding Solomon Southwick, after the latter's quarrel with 
Governor Tompkins over the Bank of America. This was in 
1813. Three years later Thurlow Weed, then a young man 
of nineteen, worked for him as a journeyman printer. 
"From January till April," he writes, "I uniformly reached 
the oflSce before daylight, and seldom failed to find Mr. 
Buel at his case, setting type by a tallow candle and 
smoking a long pipe." Buel made so much money that 
the party managers invited him to let others, equally de- 
serving, have a turn at the state printing. So he went 
into the Assembly, distinguishing himself as an able, 
practical legislator. But he gradually drew away from 
the Democrats, as their financial policy became more 
pronounced; and upon the organisation of the Whig 
party gave it his support. Had he chosen he might have been 
its candidate for governor in 1834 ; and it is difBcult to un- 

escape the ordeal, eagerly asked where he was, and told the ser- 
geant-at-arms to look for him. But Van Buren was ready, and at 
once stepped to his chair and voted for the bill. His close friend, 
Silas Wrig-ht of New York, also voted for it. Benton says he deemed 
both the votes to be political and given from policy. So they prob- 
ably were. . . . Van Buren never deserved to be called a 'North- 
ern m^ with Southern principles.' But this vote came nearer to 
an excuse for the epithet than did any other act of his career." 
— Edward M. Shepard, Life of Martin Tan Buren, p. 277. 


derstand why ho should have lUHoplod, in 183G, with little 
expectation of an eloition, what he declined two years be- 
fore when success seemed probable. 

Oauialiel H. Uarstow had been a Clintonian and an anti- 
Ctintouian, a follower and a pursuer of Van Buren, an 
Adams man and an Anti Jlason — t>verything, in fact, except 
a Federalist. I!nt, under whatever standard he fought, and 
in whatever body he sat, he was a recognised leader, full of 
spirit, tire, and force. In 18-t, he had stood with James 
Tallmadge and Henry AVheaton at the head of the Adams 
party; iu 18;U, he had accompanied John C. Spencer and 
William H. Seward to the national anti-masonie convention 
at Baltimore; and, iu the long, exciting debate upon the bill 
giving the people power to choose presidential electors, he 
exhibited the consummate shrewdness and sagacity of an ex- 
perienced legislator. There was nothing sinister or vindic- 
tive about him; but he had an unsparing tongue, and he dc- 
lighlod to indulge it. This is what he did in ISoti. Having 
turned his back upon the Democratic party, the campaign 
to him became an occasion for contrasting the past and "its 
blighting Regency majorities" with the future of a new 
party, which, no doubt, seemed to him and to others purer 
and brighter, since the loug^er it was excluded from power 
the less opportunity it had for making mistakes. 

But 18;U! was a year of great prosperity. The undue de- 
pression of 1S;>5 was now succeeded by commercial activity 
and an era of expansion and intiation. Visionary schemes 
were everywhere present. Keal estate values doubled, farms 
were platted into village lots, wild lands were turned into 
farms, and a new impulse was given to legitimate and illegit- 
imate enterprises. Stocks rose, labour went up, farm prod- 
ucts sold at higher prices, and the whole country responded 
to the advantages of the money plethora. Democracy rode 
on the crest of the wave, and Jackson's financial policy ■was 
accepted with joy. 

Nevertheless the Whig party, hoping to strengthen its 
numbers in Congress, did not relax its zeal. When the vote. 


however, revealed nearly thirty thousand majority for 
Marcy" and the Van Buren electoral ticket, with ninety-four 
Democrats in the Assembly and only one Whig in the Senate, 
it made Thurlow Weed despair for the Republic. 

' William L. Marey, 166,122; Jesse Buel, 136,6iS.— Civil List, State of 
New York (1887), p. 166. 




The overwhelming defeat of the Whigs, in 1836, left a sin- 
gle rift in the dark cloud through which gleamed a ray of 
substantial hope. It was plain to the most cautious busi- 
ness man that if banking had been highly remunerative, with 
the United States Bank controlling government deposits, it 
must become more productive after Jackson had transferred 
these deposits to state institutions; and what was plain to 
the conservative banker, was equally patent to the reckless 
speculator. The legislatures of 1834 and 1835, therefore, be- 
came noted as well as notorious for the large number of bank 
charters granted. As the months passed, increased demands 
for liberal loans created an increasing demand for additional 
banks, and the greater the demand the greater the strife for 
charters. Under the restraining law of the State, abundant 
provision had been made for a fair distribution of bank 
stocks ; but the dominant party, quick to take an advantage 
helpful to its friends, carefully selected commissioners who 
would distribute it only among their political followers. At 
first it went to merchants or capitalists in the locality of 
the bank ; but gradually, Albany politicians began to partici- 
pate, and then, prominent state officers, judges, legislators 
and their relatives and confidential friends, many of whom 
resold the stock at a premium of twenty to twenty-five per 
cent, before the first payment had been made. Thus, the dis- 
tribution of stock became a public scandal, deplored in the 
messages of the Governor and assailed by the press. "The 
unclean drippings of venal legislation," the New York Even- 
ing Post called it. But no remedy was applied. The Gover- 



nor, in spite of his regrets, signed every charter the Legisla 
ture granted, and the commissioners, as if ignorant of the 
provisions to secure a fair distribution of the stock, contin- 
ued to evade the law with boldness and great facility. 

Members of the Democratic party in New York City, who 
believed that banking, like any other business, ought to be 
open to competition, had organised an equal rigkts party in 
1834 to oppose all monopolies, and the bank restraining law 
in particular. Several meetings were held during the sum- 
mer. Finally, in October, both factions of Tammany Hall 
attempted forcibly to control its proceedings, and, in the 
contest, the lights were extinguished. The Equal Righters 
promptly relighted them with loco-foco or friction matches 
and continued the meeting. From this circumstance they 
were called Locofocos, a name which the Whigs soon applied 
to the whole Democratic party. 

The Equal Rights party was not long-lived. Two years 
spanned its activity, and four or five thousand votes meas- 
ured its strength; but, while it lasted, it was earnest and 
the exponent of good principles. In 1836, these people held 
a state convention at Utica, issued a declaration of princi^ 
pies, and nominated a state and congressional ticket. In 
New York City, the centre of their activity, Frederick A. 
Tallmadge was put up for state senator and Edward Curtis 
for Congress, two reputable Whigs ; and, to aid them, the 
Whig party fused ^Successfully with the Equal Righters, 
electing their whole ticket. This victory was the one ray 
of hope that came to the Whigs out of the contest of 1836. It 
proved that some people were uneasy and resentful. 

But other Whig victories were soon to follow. Reference 
has already been made to the unprecedented prosperity that 
characterised the year 1836. This era of expansion and spec- 
ulative enterprises, which began with the transfer of govern- 
ment deposits, continued at high pressure under the influ- 
ence of the newly chartered banks. With such a money 
plethora, schemes and projects expanded and inflated, until 
success seemed to turn the heads of the whole population. So 


wild was the passion for new enterprises, that one had only 
to announce a scheme to find people ready to take shares in 
it. Two per cent, d month did not deter borrowers who ex- 
pected to make one hundred per cent, before the end of the 
year. In vain did the Governor inveigh against this "unreg- 
ulated spirit of speculation." As the year advanced, men 
grew more reckless, until stocks and shares were quickly 
purchased at any price without the slightest care as to the 
risk taken. 

The beginning of the end of this epoch of insane specula- 
tion was felt, early in the spring of 1837, by a money pres- 
sure of unexampled severity. Scarcely had its efifect reached 
the interior counties, before every bank in the country sus- 
pended specie payments. Then confidence gave way, and 
tens of thousands of people, who had been wealthy or in com- 
fortable circumstances, waked up to the awful realisation 
of their bankruptcy and ruin. The panic of 1837 reached 
the proportions of a national calamity. Most men did not 
then know the reason for the crash, and the knowledge of 
those who did, brought little comfort. But, gradually, the 
country recognised that the prosperity of a nation is not in- 
creased in proportion to the quantity of paper money issued, 
unless such currency be maintained at its full value, convert- 
ible, at pleasure, into hard cash — ^the money standard of 
the world. 

It so happened that the Legislature had not adjourned 
when the crash came, and, without a moment's delay, it sus- 
pended for one year the section of the Safety Fund act for- 
bidding banks to issue notes after refusing to pay them in 
coin on demand ; but it refused to suspend the act, passed in 
March, 1835, prohibiting the issue or circulation of bills 
under the denomination of five dollars. This left the people 
without small bills, and, as New York banks dared not issue 
them, necessity forced into circulation foreign bills, issued 
by solvent and insolvent banks, the losses from which fell 
largely upon the poorer classes who could not discriminate 
between the genuine and the spurious. So great was the in- 


convenience and loss suffered by the continuance of this act, 
that the people petitioned the Governor to call an ex- 
tra session of the Legislature for its repeal; but Marcy de- 
clined, for the reason that the Legislature had already re- 
fused to give the banks the desired authority. Thus, the 
citizens of New York, staggering under a panic common to 
the whole country, were compelled to suffer the additional 
hardships of an irredeemable, and, for the most part, worth- 
less currency, known as "shin-plasters." 

In the midst of these "hard times," occurred the election in 
November, 1837. The New York municipal election, held in 
the preceding spring and resulting, with the help of the 
Equal Righters, in the choice of a Whig mayor, had prepared 
the way for a surprise ; yet no one imagined that a political 
revolution was imminent. But the suffering people were 
angry, and, like a whirlwind, the Whigs swept nearly every 
county in the State. Of one hundred and twenty-eight as- 
semblymen, they elected one hundred and one, and six of 
the eight senators. It happened, too, that as the triennial 
election of sheriffs and clerks occurred this year, the choice 
of these oflScers swelled the triumph into a victory that made 
it the harder to overthrow. In a moment, the election of 
1837 had given the Whigs a powerful leverage in local con- 
tests, enabling them to build up a party that could be dis- 
ciplined as well as organised. To add to their strength, the 
I^egislature, when it convened, in January, 1838, proceeded 
to take the "spoils." Luther Bradish was chosen speaker, 
Orville L. Holley surveyor-general, and Gamaliel L. Barstow 
state treasurer. It also suspended for two years the act pro- 
hibiting banks from issuing small bills, passed a general 
banking law, and almost unanimously voted four millions 
for enlarging the Erie canal. 

Although the spring elections of 1838 showed a decided 
falling off in the Whig vote, hopes of carrying the State in 
November were so well founded that Whig candidates for 
governor appeared in plenty. Looking back upon the con- 
test from a distance, especially with the present knowledge 


of his superlative fitness for high place, it seems strange that 
William H. Seward should not have had an open way in the 
conveiftion. But Francis Granger had also won the admira- 
tion of his party by twice leading a forlorn hope. Amidst 
crushing defeat he had never shown weariness, and his happy 
disposition kept him in friendly touch with his party. The 
Chenango people were especially ardent in his support. 
Twice he had forced their canal project through a hostile As- 
sembly, and they did not forget that, in the hour of triumph, 
Seward opposed it. Besides, Granger had distinguished him- 
self in Congress, resisting the policy of Jackson and Van 
Buren with forceful argument and ready tact. He was cer- 
tainly a man to be proud of, and his admirers insisted with 
great pertinacity that he should now be the nominee for 

There was another formidable candidate in the field. Lu- 
ther Bradish had proved an unusually able speaker, cour- 
teous in deportment, and firm and resolute in his rulings at 
a time of considerable political excitement. He had entered 
the Assembly from Franklin in 1828, and, having early em- 
braced anti-Masonry with Weed, Granger, and Seward, was, 
with them, a leader in the organisation of the Whig party. 
The northern counties insisted that his freedom from party 
controversies made him peculiarly available, and, while the 
supporters of other candidates were quarrelling, it was their 
intention, if possible, to nominate him. Seward and Granger 
were eager for the nomination, but neither seems to have 
encouraged the ill-will which their followers exhibited. In- 
deed, Seward evidenced a disposition to withdraw; and he 
would doubtless have done so, had not his friends, and those 
of Granger, thought it better to let a convention decide. As 
the campaign grew older, the canvass proceeded with asperity. 
Granger's adherents accused Seward of an unjust conspiracy 
to destroy him, and of having canvassed the State, personally 
or by agents, to secure the prize even at the cost of a party 
division. They charged him with oppressing the settlers in 
Chautauqua, with editing the Albany Journal, with regulat- 


ing the Bank of the United States, and controlling the move- 
ments of Henry Clay. "I am already so wearied of it," Sew- 
ard wrote, "that, if left to myself, I should withdraw in- 
stantly and forever. I am ill-fitted for competition with 
brethren and friends. But with a clear conscience and 
greater magnanimity than there is manifested toward me, I 
shall go safely through all this storm."' 

The confidence disclosed in the closing sentence was due 
largely to his confidence in Thurlow Weed. The editor of the 
Albany Journal seriously desired to take no part in the 
choice of delegates, since his personal and political relations 
with all the candidates were intimate and confidential ; but 
he had known Granger longer than the others, and, if con- 
trolled by personal friendship, he must have favoured the 
Ontario candidate. Weed, however, believed that Seward's 
nomination would awaken greater enthusiasm, especially 
among young men, thus giving the ticket its best chance of 
success. At the last moment, therefore, he declared in favour 
of the Auburn statesman. 

The sequel showed Ihat his help came none too soon. Four 
informal ballots were taken, and, on the following day the 
formal and final one. The first gave Seward 52, Granger 39, 
and Bradish 29, with 4 for Edwards of New York. This was 
supposed to be Granger's limit. On the second ballot, Brad- 
ish's friends transferred thirteen votes to him, making Sew- 
ard 60, Granger 52, Bradish 10, and Edwards 3. If this was 
a surprise to the friends of Seward, the third ballot was a 
tremendous shock, for Seward fell off to 59, and Granger 
got 60. Bradish had 8. Then Weed went to work. Though 
he had understood that Granger, except in a few counties, 
had little strength, the last ballot plainly showed him 
to be the popular candidate ; and during an intermission be- 
tween the third and fourth ballots, the Journal's editor ex- 
hibited an influence few men in the State have ever exercised. 
The convention was made up of the strongest and most in- 
dependent men in the party. Nearly all had held seats in 
* F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 366. 


the state or national legislature, or had occupied other im- 
portant ofiQce. Experience had taught them to act upon their 
own convictions. The delegates interested in the Chenango 
Valley canal were especially obstinate and formidable. 
^'Weed," said one of them, "tell me to do anything else ; tell 
me to jump out of the window and break my neck, and I will 
do it to oblige you; but don't ask me to desert Granger!"^ 
Yet the quiet, good-natured Weed, his hand softly purring 
the knee of his listener as he talked — never excited, never 
vehement, but sympathetic, logical, prophetic — had his way. 
The fourth ballot gave Seward 67, Granger 48, Bradish 8. 
The work was done. When the convention reassembled the 
next morning, on motion of a warm supporter of Granger, 
the nomination was made unanimous, and Bradish was 
named for lieutenant-governor by acclamation. 

Much disappointment was exhibited by Granger's friends, 
especially the old anti-Mason farmers who were inclined to 
reproach Weed with disloyalty. Granger himself stoic- 
ally accepted defeat and zealously supported the ticket. He 
had said to a departing delegate, "if either Mr. Seward or 
Mr. Bradish attain a majority at the informal ballot, my 
friends must give the successful competitor their united sup- 
port."^ How heartily Seward would have responded under 
like circumstances is evidenced by his action when a prema- 
ture report went forth of Granger's selection. Being in- 
formed of it, Seward at once told his friends that Auburn 
must be the first to ratify, and immediately set to work pre- 
paring resolutions for the meeting. 

Thurlow Weed was pre-eminently a practical politician. 
He believed in taking advantage of every opportunity to 
strengthen his own party and weaken the adversary, and he 
troubled himself little about the means employed. He pre- 
ferred to continue the want of small bills for another year 
rather than allow the opposite party to benefit by a repeal of 
the obnoxious law ; he approved Van Buren's course in the 

= F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 373. 
»76id., p. 374. 


infamous Pellows- Allen controversy ; and, had he been gov- 
ernor in place of John Jay in 1800, the existing Legislature 
would undoubtedly have been reconvened in extra session, 
and presidential electors chosen favourable to his own party, 
as Hamilton wanted. - But, at the bottom of his nature, there 
was bed-rock principle from which no pressure could swerve 
him. He could exclaim with Emerson, "I will say those 
things which I have meditated for their own sake and not 
for the first time with a view to that occasion." In these 
words is the secret of his relation to the Whig party. He 
asked no ofSce, and he gave only the ripe fruit of his medita- 
tive life. It is not to be supposed that, in 1838, he saw in 
the young man at Auburn the astute United States Senator 
of the fifties; or the still greater secretary of state of the 
Civil War ; but he had seen enough of Seward to discern the 
qualities of mind and heart that lifted him onto heights 
which extended his horizon beyond that of most men, ena- 
bling him to keep his bearing in the midst of great excite- 
ment, and, finally, in the presence of war itself. Seward saw 
fewer things, perhaps, than the more active and eloquent 
Granger, but Weed knew that he saw more deeply.* 

The Democratic state convention assembled at Herkimer 
on September 12, and unanimously renominated William L. 

* "Apart from politics, I liked Seward, though not blind to his 
faults. His natural instincts were humane and progressive. He 
hated slavery and all its belongings, though a seeming necessity 
constrained him to write, in 1838, to this intensely pro-slavery city, 
a pro-slavery letter, which was at war with his real, or at least 
with his subsequent convictions. Though of Democratic parentage, 
he had been an Adams man, an anti-Mason, and was now thor- 
oughly a Whig. The policy of more extensive and vigorous internal 
improvement had no more zealous champion. By nature, genial 
and averse to pomp, ceremony, and formality, few public men of 
his early prime were better calculated to attract and fascinate 
young men of his own party, and holding views accordant on most 
points with his. . . . Weed was of coarser mould and fibre 
than Seward — tall, robust, dark-featured, shrewd, resolute, and not 
over-scrupulous — ^keen-sighted, though not far-seeing." — Horace 
Greeley, Recollections of a Busy Life, pp. 311, 312. 

1838] WILLIAM L. MAKCT 23 

Marcy and John Tracy. Marcy had made an able governor 
for three consecutive terms. His declaration that "to the vic- 
tors belong the spoils" had not impaired his influence, since 
all parties practised, if they did not preach it ; and, although 
he stultified himself by practically recommending and finally 
approving the construction of the Chenango canal, which he 
bitterly opposed as comptroller, he had lost no friends. Canal 
building was in accord with the spirit of the times. A year 
later, he had recommended an enlargement of the Erie canal ; 
but when he discovered that the Chenango project would cost 
two millions instead of one, and the Erie enlargement twelve 
millions instead of six, he protested against further improve- 
ments until the Legislature provided means for paying inter- 
est on the money already borrowed. He clearly saw that the 
"unregulated spirit of speculation" would lead to ruin ; and, 
to counteract it, he appealed to the Legislature, seeking to in- 
fluence the distribution of bank stock along lines set forth in 
the law. But Marcy failed to enforce his precepts with the 
veto. In refusing, also, to reassemble the Legislature, for 
the repeal of the Small Bills act, the passage of which he 
had recommended in 1835, he gave the Evening Post opportu- 
nity to assail him as "a weak, cringing, indecisive 
man, the mere tool of a monopoly junto — ^their convenient 

Marcy held oflBce under difficult conditions. The panic, 
coming in the summer of 1837, was enough to shatter the 
nerves of any executive ; but, to the panic, was now added the 
Canadian rebellion which occurred in the autumn of 1837. 
Though not much of a rebellion, William L. McKenzie's ap- 
peal for aid to the friends of liberty aroused hundreds of 
sympathetic Americans living along the border. Navy 
Island, above the Falls of Niagara, was made the headquar- 
ters of a provisional government, from which McKenzie is- 
sued a proclamation offering a reward for the capture of 
the governor-general of Canada and promising three hun- 
dred acres of land to each recruit. 

The Canadian authorities effectually guarded the border, 


and destroyed the Caroline, presumably an insurgent 
steamer, lying at Schlosser's dock on the American side. In 
the conflict, one member of the crew was killed, and several 
wounded. The steamer proved to be an American vessel, 
owned by New York parties, and its destruction greatly in- 
creased the indignation against Canada; but Governor 
Marcy did not hesitate to call upon the people to refrain 
from unlawful acts within the territory of the United States ; 
and, to enforce his proclamation, supplied General Scott, 
now in command of the Candian frontier, with a force of 
militia. The American troops quickly forced the abandon- 
ment of Navy Island, scattered the insurgents and their 
allies to secret retreats, and broke up the guerrilla warfare. 
The loss of life among the patriots, due to their audacity and 
incompetent leadership, was considerable, and the treatment 
of prisoners harsh and in some instances inhuman. Many 
young men of intelligence and character were banished for 
life to Van Dieman's Land, McKenzie was thrown into a Ga- 
-uadian dungeon, and, among others. Van Schoulty, a brave 
young oflBcer and refugee from Poland, who led an unsuccess- 
ful attack upon Prescott, was executed. Small as was the 
uprising, it created an intense dislike of Marcy among the 
friends of those who participated in it. 

Still another political splinter was festering in Marcy's 
side. Several leading Democrats, who had sustained Jackson 
in his war upon the United States Bank, and in his removal 
of the deposits, refused to adopt Van Buren's sub-treasury 
scheme, proposed to the extra session of Congress, convened 
in September, 1837. This measure meant the disuse of banks 
as fiscal agents of the government, and the collection, safe- 
keeping, and disbursement of public moneys by treasury of- 
ficials. The banks, of course, opposed it ; and thousands who 
had shouted, "Down with the United States Bank," changed 
their cry to "Down with Van Buren and the sub-treasury 
scheme." Among those opposing it, in New York, Nathaniel 
P. Tallmadge, a Democratic United States senator, took the 
lead, calling a state convention to meet at Syracuse. This 


convention immediately burned its bridges. It denounced 
Van Buren, it opposed Marcy, and it indorsed Seward. Be- 
hind it were bank oflScers and stockholders who were to lose 
the privilege of loaning the money of the United States for 
their own benefit, and the harder it struck them the more lib- 
erally they paid for fireworks and for shouters. 

If trouble confronted the Democrats, discouragement op- 
pressed the Whigs. Under the direction of Gerrit Smith the 
Abolitionists were on the war-path, questioning Seward as 
to the propriety of granting fugitive slaves a fair trial by 
jury, of abolishing distinctions in constitutional rights 
founded solely on complexion, and of repealing the law au- 
thorising the importation of slaves into the State and their 
detention as such during a period of nine months. Seward 
avowed his firm faith in trial by jury and his opposition to 
all "human bondage," but he declined making ante-election 
pledges. He preferred to wait, he said, until each case came 
before him for decision. Seward undoubtedly took the wise 
course; but he did not satisfy the extremists represented by 
Smith, and many of the Whig leaders became panic-stricken. 
"The Philistines are upon us," wrote Millard Fillmore, who 
was canvassing the State. "I now regard all as lost irrevo- 
cably. We shall never be able to burst the withes. Thank 
God, I can endure it as long as they, but I am sick of our 
Whig party. It can never be in the ascendant."' 

Francis Granger was no less alarmed. He estimated the 
Abolitionist vote at twenty thousand, "and before the grand 
contest of 1840," he wrote Weed, "they will control one- 
fourth the votes of the State. They are engaged in it with 
the same honest purpose that governed the great mass of 
Anti-Masons."^ The young candidate at Auburn was also in 
despair. "I fear the State is lost," he wrote Weed on No- 
vember 4. "This conclusion was forced upon me strongly by 
news from the southern tier of counties, and is confirmed by 
an analogy in Ohio. But I will not stop to reason on the 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, "Vol. 2, p. 60. 
' lUd., p. 61. 


causes. Youi- own sagacity has doubtless often considered 
them earlier and more forcibly than mine.'" 

But Horace Greeley did not share these gloomy forebod- 
ings. He was then engaged in editing the Jeffersonian, a 
weekly journal of eight pages, which had been established 
in February solely as a campaign newspaper. His regular 
business was the publication of the New Yorker, a journal 
of literature and general intelligence. During the campaign 
he consented to spend two days of each week at Albany mak- 
ing up the Jeffersonian, which was issued from the office of 
the Evening Journal, and he was doing this work with the 
indefatigable industry and marvellous ability that marked 
his character. 

Greeley had battled for a place in the world after the man- 
ner of Thurlow Weed. He was born on a New Hampshire 
farm, he had worked on a Vermont farm, and for a time it 
seemed to him as if he must forever remain on a farm ; but 
after a few winters of schooling he started over the Ver- 
mont hills to learn the printer's trade. A boy was not needed 
in Whitehall, and he pushed on to Poultney. There he found 
work for four years until the Northern Spectator expired. 
Then he went back to the farm. But newspaper life in a 
small town had made him ambitious to try his fortunes in a 
city, and, journeying from one printing office to another, he 
finally drifted, in 1831, at the age of twenty, into New York. 

Up to this time Greeley's life had resembled Weed's only 
in his voracious appetite for reading newspapers. He cared 
little for the boys about town and less for the sports of 
youth; he could dispense with sleep, and wasted no tijne 
thinking about what he should eat or wear ; but books, and 
especially newspapers, were read with the avidity that a 
well-fed threshing machine devours a stack of wheat. He 
seemed to have only one ambition — ^the acquisition of knowl- 
edge and the career of a man of letters, and in his efforts to 
succeed, he ignored forms and social usages, forgot that he 
had a physical body to care for, and detested man-worship. 
' F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 61. 

1831-8] HORACE GEEELEY 27 

Standing at last before a printer's case on Broadway, he was 
able to watch, almost from the beginning, the great political 
drama in which he was destined to play so great a part. Sew- 
ard had just entered the State Senate ; Weed, having recently 
established the Evening Journal, was massing the Anti- 
Masons and National Republicans for their last campaign; 
William Lloyd Garrison had issued the first number of the 
Liberator; Gerrit Smith, already in possession of his father's 
vast estate, still clung to the Liberian colonisation scheme; 
and Van Buren, not yet returned from England, was about 
entering upon the last stage of his phenomenally successful 
political career. Politicians for the first time disturbed 
about the tariff, the bank, and internal improvements, had 
come to the parting of the ways ; the old order of things had 
ended under John Quincy Adams — the new had just com- 
menced under Andrew Jackson. But the young compositor 
needed no guide-post to direct his political footsteps. In 
1834, he had established the New Yorker and those who read 
it became Whigs. His mind acted upon other minds of a cer- 
tain constitution with wonderful magnetism, attracting 
thousands of readers by his marvellous gift of expression and 
the broad sympathies and clear discernments that character- 
ised his writings. He had his own ideas about the necessity 
for reforms, and he seems easily to have fallen a victim to 
countless delusions and illusions which young visionaries 
and gray-headed theorists brought to him; but, in spite of 
remonstrances and crushing opposition, he stood resolutely 
for whatever awoke the strongest emotions of his nature. 

Thurlow Weed had been a constant reader of the New 
Yorker. He did not know the name of its editor and had 
. never taken the trouble to inquire, but when a cheap weekly 
Whig newspaper was needed for a vigorous campaign in 
1838, the editor of the Neio Yorker, whoever he might be, 
seemed the proper man to edit and manage it. Going to New 
York, he called at the Ann Street oflQce and found himself 
in the presence of a young man, slender, light-haired, slightly 
stooping, and very near-sighted, who introduced himself as 


Horace Greeley. At the moment, he was standing at the 
case, with coat off and sleeves rolled up, setting type with the 
ease and rapidity of an expert. "When I informed him of 
the object of my visit," says M'eed, "he was, of course, sur- 
prised, but evidently gratified. Nor was his surprise and 
gratification diminished to learn that I was drawn to him 
without any other reason or information but such as I had 
derived from the columns of the JVeto Yorker. He suggested 
the Jeffersonian as the name for the new paper, and the first 
number appeared in February, 1838."^ 

It is one of the privileges of genius to discern the genius 
of others; but even Thurlow Weed could not have dreamed 
that he was giving opportunity to a man whose name was to 
rank higher than his own in history. There was a certain 
affinity between the intellectual nature of the two men, and 
they had now a common object. Both were journalists of 
tremendous energy, indomitable industry, and marvellous 
gifts; but Weed was a politician, Greeley a political 
preacher. Weed's influence lay in his remarkable judgment, 
his genius for diplomacy, and his rare gift of controlling in- 
dividuals by personal appeal and by the overpowering mas- 
tery of his intellect; Greeley's supremacy grew out of his 
broad sympathies with the human race and his matchless 
ability to write. Weed's field of operations was confined 
largely to the State of New York and to delegates and men 
of influence who assemble at national conventions; Greeley 
preached to the whole country, sweeping along like a prairie 
fire and converting men to his views as easily as steel filings 
are attracted to the magnet. Prom the outset he was above 
dictation. He lacked judgment, and at times greatly grieved 
the friends who were willing to follow him through fire and 
flood ; but once his mind was made up he surrendered his un- 
derstanding, his consciousness of convictions, of duty, and 
of public good, to no man or set of men. "I trust we can 
never be enemies," he once wrote Weed, "but better anything 
than I should feel the weight of chains about my neck, that 
' AutoMography of Thvrlow Weed, p. 466. 


I should write and act with an eye to any man's pleasure, 
rather than to the highest good."' 

As the editor of the Jeffersonian, which now quickly won 
a multitude of readers, he did his work with marked ability, 
discussing measures calmly and forcibly, and with an influ- 
ence that baffled his opponents and surprised his friends. 
Greeley seems never to have been an immature writer. His 
felicity of expression and ability to shade thought, with a 
power of appeal and invective that belongs to experience and 
mature age, came to him, as they did to Hamilton, before he 
was out of his teens, and whether he was right or whether he 
was wrong, he was always the most interesting, always the 
most commanding figure in American journalism in the 
epoch-making political controversies of his day. 

The Whigs thought it a happy omen that election day, No- 
vember 7, came this year on the anniversary of General Har- 
rison's victory at Tippecanoe. As the returns came in Sew- 
ard's friends grew more elated, and on Saturday, the 11th, 
Weed covered the entire first page of the Evening Journal 
with the picture of an eagle, having outspread wings and 
bearing in its beak the word "Victory." It was the first ap- 
pearance in politics of this American bird, which was des- 
tined to play a part in all future celebrations of the kind. 
The completed returns showed that the Whigs had elected 
Seward and Bradish by ten thousand four hundred 
and twenty-one majority,^" five of the eight senators, and 
nearly two-thirds of the assemblymen. "Well, dear Sew- 
ard," wrote Weed, "we are victorious; God be thanked — 
gratefully and devoutly thanked."^^ Seward was no less af- 
fected. "It is a fearful post I have coveted," he wrote; "I 
shudder at my temerity. . . . Indeed, I feel just now as 
if your zeal had been blind ; but I may, perhaps, get over this. 
God grant, at all events, that I be spared from committing 

' Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 97. 
" William H. Seward, 192,882; William L. Marcy, 182,461.— Civil List, 
State of New Ywk (1887), p. 166. 
" F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1. p. 379. 


the sin of ingratitude. I hate it as the foulest in the 

Marcy seemed to accept his defeat good-naturedly. "Even 
before the ballot-boxes were closed," he wrote, facetiously, 
"I had partly persuaded myself to engage in a work for my 
posterity, by writing the history of the rise, progress, and 
termination of the Regency. It will embrace the transac- 
tions of the golden days of the Republic (Empire State). 
It began with my entrance into public life, and terminates 
with my exit from it. The figures in the tableau will not be 
of the largest size, but the ascendancy of honest men, for 
such I think them to have been (Ilium fuitj, will be inter- 
esting on account of great rarity." But, to the same friend, 
a few weeks later, he took a desponding view, expressing the 
fear that the power which had passed from the Democratic 
party would not return to as honest hands. His financial 
condition, too, caused him much uneasiness. He had given 
eighteen years to the State, he said, the largest portion of 
an active and vigorous life, and now found himself poorer 
than when he took office. "If my acquisitions in a pecuniary 
way have probably been less and my labours and exertions 
greater," he asks, "what compensating advantages are to be 
brought into the calculation to balance the account?" An 
office-holder rarely asks such a question until thrown out of 
a position ; while in office, it is evident he thinks the privi- 
lege of holding it sufficient compensation; otherwise, it 
may be presumed, he would resign. Marcy, however, was not 
forgotten. Indeed, his political career had scarcely begun, 
since the governorship became only a stepping-stone to con- 
tinued honours. Within a few months. President Van Buren 
appointed him, under the convention of April, 1839, to the 
Mexican Claims Commission, and a few years later he was to 
become a member of two Cabinets. 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 8, p. 61. 




Aptee Seward's election, the Whig party in New York may 
be fairly described as under the control of Thurlow Weed, 
who became known as the "Dictator." Although no less 
drastic and persevering, perhaps, than DeWitt Clinton's, it 
was a control far different in method. Clinton did not dis- 
guise his power. He was satisfied in his own mind that he 
knew better than any other how to guide his party and gov- 
ern his followers, and he acted accordingly — dogmatic, over- 
bearing, often far from amiable, sometimes unendurable, to 
those around him. Weed, on the contrary, was patient, sym- 
pathetic, gentle, and absolutely without asperity. "My dear 
Weed," wrote Seward on December 14, 1838, "the sweetness 
of his temper inclines me to love my tyrant. I had no idea 
that dictators were such amiable creatures."^ In a humour- 
ous vein, William Kent, the gifted son of the Chancellor, ad- 
dressed him. "Mr. Dictator, the whole State is on your 
shoulders. I take it, some future chronicler, in reciting the 
annals of New York during this period, in every respect 
equal to England in the time of Elizabeth, will devote the 
brightest colours to 'the celebrated Thurlow Weed, who so 
long filled the office of Governor Seward during his length- 
ened and prosperous administration.' It behooves you, there- 
fore, to act circumspectly, and particularly in the advice you 
give the Governor as to appointments to oflSce."^ 

' Thurlow Weed Bames, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 63. F. W. 
Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 381. 
" Thurlow Weed Bames, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 72. 



Few chapters of personal history can be more interesting 
than that which tells of the strange, subtle influence exer- 
cised by Weed over the mind of Seward ; but it is doubtful if 
there was conscious control at any time. Certainly Seward 
never felt "the weight of chains" about his neck. Weed prob- 
ably saw good reason to believe that in Seward he could have 
just the sort of an associate who would suit all his purposes, 
since their views of public affairs and their estimate of public 
men rarely differed. "Our relations had become so inti- 
mate," he says, "and our sentiments and sympathies proved 
so congenial, that our interests, pursuits, and hopes of pro- 
moting each other's welfare and happiness became identi- 
cal."^ Weed seemed to glory in Seward's success, and Sew- 
ard was supremely happy in and proud of Weed's friendship. 
Weed and Greeley were so diflferently constituted that, be- 
tween them, such a relation could not exist, although at 
times it seemed to give Greeley real pain that it was so. "I 
rise early from a bed of sleepless thought," he once wrote 
Weed, "to explain that we differ radically on the bank ques- 
tion, and I begin to fear we do on the general policy and ob- 
jects of political controversy.'"* But there were no such sleep- 
less nights for Seward. Looking back upon four years of 
gubernatorial life, he opens his heart freely to the friend 
of his young manhood. "Without your aid," he declares, 
"how helpless would have been my prospect of reaching the 
elevation from which I am to-day descending. How could I 
have sustained myself there; how could I have secured the 
joyous reflections of this hour, but for the confidence I so 
undenyingly reposed on your affection?"^ It was not Sew- 
ard's nature to depend upon somebody to have his path in 
life or his ways of thinking pointed out to him ; nor did he 
have the weakness of many highly cultured and gifted men 
who believe too much in the supremacy of intellect and cul- 
ture. On the contrary, he had a way of speaking out hia 

' Thuriow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 1, p. 483. 

* Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 97. 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 642. 


own honest thoughts, and would have despised himself, as 
much as would Greeley, if it had been necessary to enjoy 
any one's friendship on terms of humiliation. It was his na- 
ture, as well as his wish, to share with Weed the benefit of 
the latter's almost infallible judgment in political matters. 
In this way. Weed, more than either realised, had great in- 
fluence with Seward. But Weed was no more the directing 
mind of the administration of Seward than was Hamilton 
of Washington's, or Van Buren of Jackson's, or Seward of 
Lincoln's. Many anecdotes were told illustrative of this in- 
fluence, which serve to show how strongly the notion ob- 
tained in the minds of the common people that Weed was 
really "the Dictator." The best, associated Seward with his 
invariable custom of riding outside the coach while smok- 
ing his after-dinner cigar. The whip, on this occasion, did 
not know the distinguished traveller, and, after answering 
Seward's many questions, attempted to discover the identity 
of his companion. The Governor disclaimed being a mer- 
chant, a lecturer, a minister, or a teacher. "Then I know 
what you are," said the driver; "you must be a lawyer, or 
you wouldn't ask so many questions." "That is not my busi- 
ness at present," replied Seward. "Then who are you?" 
finally demanded Jehu. "I am the governor of this State," 
replied Seward. The driver at once showed incredulity, and 
the Governor offered to leave it to the landlord at the next 
tavern. On arriving there, and after exchanging salutations, 
Seward suggested the question in dispute. "No, you are not 
the governor," replied the landlord, to the great satisfaction 
of the driver. "What !" exclaimed Seward, in astonishment ; 
"then who is governor?" "Why," said the landlord, "Thur- 
low Weed." * 

"Though the incident never occurred," says Frederick W. 
Seward, in the biography of his father, "the story was so 
accordant with his habit of riding outside to smoke, and 
with the popular understanding of his relations with Mr. 
Weed, that it was generally accepted as true. Seward him- 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thvrlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 100. 


self used laughingly to relate it, and say that, though it was 
not quite true, it ought to be.'" 

With Governor Seward's inauguration the Whig party 
was placed on trial. Ten years had passed since DeWitt 
Clinton's death, and Seward was the first successor whose 
opinions and sentiments harmonised with those of that dis- 
tinguished statesman. During the intervening period the 
Eegency had been in absolute control of the State. It had 
contented itself with looking after things as they existed, 
rather than undertaking further improvements and reforms. 
Seward's election, therefore, was not only a revolution of 
parties, but a radical change of policy. Every Whig, fearful 
lest some misstep might lead to the early loss of the power 
just gained, had an opinion as to what should and should 
not be done. Some were afraid the Governor would say too 
much, others fearful he would say too little. Seward, mov- 
ing on broad lines of economics and reform, believed that 
the promotion of transportation, the development of capital 
and credit, and the enlargement of educational advantages, 
would bring wealth to the State and greater happiness to 
the people; and his first message contained the policy that 
guided him throughout his entire political career. In its 
preparation, he relied upon President Knott of Union College 
for assistance on the subject of education ; on John H. Beach 
for financial statistics ; on Samuel B. Ruggles for canal fig- 
ures ; and on John C. Spencer for general suggestions. Then 
he sat down with Weed for its final revision. When com- 
pleted, it contained the groundwork of his political philoso- 
phy. He would prosecute the work of the canals, he would 
encourage the completion of railroads, establish a board of 
internal improvement, extend charitable institutions, im- 
prove the discipline of prisons, elevate the standard of educa- 
tion in schools and colleges, establish school district libraries, 
provide for the education of the coloured race, reform the 
practice of courts, cut off superfluous oflSces, repeal the Small 
Bills law, authorise banking under general laws, and apply 
' F. W. Se-ward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 395. 


rigorous safeguards, especially in populous cities, for the 
purity of the ballot-box. In concluding, he paid a handsome 
tribute to DeWitt Clinton and recommended that a monu- 
ment be erected to his memory in Albany. 

None of our statesmen, with whom reform has been a char- 
acteristic trait, was more devoted or happy. His delight, 
deep and unfailing, extended to every department of the gov- 
ernment, and the minuteness of his knowledge betrayed the 
intimate acquaintance which he had gained of the affairs of 
the State during his four years in the Senate. His message 
caught the inspiration of this fresh and joyous maturity. It 
was written, too, in the easy, graceful style, rhythmical and 
subdued in expression, which afterward contributed to hi& 
extreme charm as an orator. Prom the first, Seward was 
an ardent optimist, and this first message is that of noble 
youth, delighting in the life and the opportunities that a 
great oflSce presents to one who is mindful of its harassing 
duties and its relentless limitations, yet keenly sensitive to 
its novelty and its infinite incitements. The Democrats, 
whose hearts must have rejoiced when they heard his mes- 
sage, declared it the visionary schemes of a theorising politi- 
cian, the work of a sophomore rather than a statesman ; yet, 
within little more than a decade, most of his suggestions 
found a place in the statute book. Though the questions of 
that time are not the questions of our day, and engage only 
the historian and his readers, these twenty printed pages of 
recommendations, certain to excite debate and opposition, 
must always be read with deep enjoyment. 

The chief criticism of his opponents grew out of his ac- 
ceptance of Euggles's estimate that the canals would more 
than reimburse the cost of their construction and enlarge- 
ment. The Argus asserted that Seward, instead of sustain- 
ing the policy of "pay as you go," favoured a "forty million 
debt ;" and this became the great campaign cry of the Demo- 
crats in two elections. On the other hand, the Whigs main- 
tained that the canals had enriched the people and the State, 
and that their future prosperity depended upon the enlarge- 


inent of the Erie canal, so that its capacity would meet the 
increasing demands of business. In the end, the result 
showed how prophetically Seward wrote and how wisely 
Ruggles figured; for, although the Erie canal, in 1862, had 
cost 152,491,915.74, it had repaid the State with an excess 
of 142,000,000. 

In the midst of so many recommendations, one wonders 
that Seward had nothing to say for civil service reform. We 
may doubt, and with reason, whether anything he might have 
said" could have strengthened the slight hold which such a 
theory then had in the minds of the people, but it would have 
brought the need of reform strikingly before the country to 
bear, in time, ripe fruit. The Whig party, however, was not 
organised to keep Democrats in office, and no sooner had 
the Albany Journal announced Seward's election than ap- 
plications began pouring in upon the Governor-elect until 
more than one thousand had been filed. Seward afterward 
said that, of these applications, only two came from persons 
living west of Cayuga Bridge, although the eighth district 
had given him a majority equal to his entire majority in the 

Under the Constitution of 1821, there were more places to 
fill by appointment than under the Constitution of 1846, and 
twice as many as now exist. In 1839, the Governor not only 
appointed port-wardens, harbour-masters, notaries public, 
and superintendents and commissioners of various sorts, but 
he nominated judges, surrogates, county clerks, examiners of 
prisons, weighers of merchandise, measurers of grain, cullers 
of staves, and inspectors of flour, lumber, spirits, salt, beef 
and pork, hides and skins, and fish and oil, besides numerous 
other officers. They applied formally to the Governor and 
then went to Weed to get the place. Just so the Whig legis- 
lators went through the form of holding a caucus to select 
state officers after the slate had been made up. John C. 
Spencer became secretary of state; Bates Cook of Niagara 
County, comptroller; Willis Hall of New York City, attor- 
ney-general; Jacob Haight, treasurer; and Orville L. Holley, 


surveyor-generaL Thurlow Weed's account, read with the 
knowledge that he alone selected them, is decidedly humour- 
ous. "Bates Cook had but a local reputation," he says, "and 
it required the strongest assurances from Governor Seward 
and myself that he was abundantly qualified." In other 
words, it was necessary for the caucus to know that Weed 
wanted him. "The canvass for attorney-general was very 
spirited," he continues, "Joshua A. Spencer of Oneida and 
Samuel Stevens of Albany being the most prominent candi- 
dates;" but Willis Hall, "who was better known on the 
stump than at the bar, and whose zeal, energy, and tact had 
been conspicuous and effective in overthrowing the Demo- 
cratic party," got the office. Van Buren could not have sur- 
passed this for practical politics. "The nomination of Jacob 
Haight," he goes on, "afforded me great satisfaction. I had 
learned in my boyhood at Catskill to esteem and honour him. 
In 1824 when, as a Democratic senator, he arrayed himself 
against William H. Crawford, the caucus nominee for Presi- 
dent, and zealously supported John Quincy Adams, my early 
remembrances of him grew into a warm personal friend- 
ship."' It was easy to fuse in Weed's big heart Democratic 
apostacy and the associations of boyhood. 

Yet Weed had able indorsers behind his candidates. "I 
hear there is great opposition to Willis Hall," wrote Wil- 
liam Kent, "and I am sorry for it. He has a great heart, 
and a great head, too. It has been his misfortune, but our 
good fortune, that his time and talents have been devoted to 
advancing the Whig party, while those who oppose him were 
taxing costs and filing demurrers. The extreme Webster 
men in New York have formed a combination against Willis. 
It is the dog in the manger, too, for no man from New York 
is a candidate.'" 

But the dictator made a greater display of practical poli- 
tics in the selection of a United States senator to succeed 
Nathaniel P. Tallmadge. There were several aspirants, 

* Autobiography of Thurlow Weed, p. 459. 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 73. 


among them Millard Fillmore, John C. Spencer, John A. Col- 
lier, and Joshua A. Spencer. All these men were intensely 
in earnest. Fillmore, then in Congress, was chairman of 
the Committee on Ways and Means ; and advancement to the 
Senate would have been a deserved promotion. But Tall- 
madge had rallied to the support of Seward, under the name 
of Conservatives, many former National Kepublicans, who 
had joined the Democratic party because of anti-Masonry, 
and Weed believed in keeping them in the Whig party by re- 
electing their leader. Fillmore, and other candidates, ear- 
nestly protested against the policy of discarding tried and 
faithful friends, and of conferring the highest and most im- 
portant place in the gift of the party upon a new recruit 
whose fidelity could not be trusted; "but, strong as those 
gentlemen were in the Whig party, they were unable to over- 
come a conviction in the minds of the Whig members of the 
Legislature," says Weed, solemnly, as if the Whig members 
of the Legislature really did have something to do with it, 
"that in view of the approaching presidential election Mr. 
Tallmadge was entitled to their support. He was, therefore, 
nominated with considerable unanimity."" It was a great 
shock to Fillmore, which he resented a few years later. In- 
deed, Weed's dictatorship, although quiet and gentle, was al- 
ready raising dissent. Albert H. Tracy, indignant at Sew- 
ard's nomination over the heads of older and more experi- 
enced men, had withdrawn from politics, and Gamaliel H. 
Barstow, the first state treasurer elected by the Whigs, re- 
signed in a huff because he did not like the way things were 
going. Weed fully realised the situation. "There are a 
great many disappointed, disheartened friends," he wrote 
Granger. "It has been a tremendous winter. But for the 
presidential question which will absorb all other things, the 
appointments would tear us to pieces."" To his door, Sew- 
ard knew, the censure of the disappointed would be aimed. 
"The list of appointments made this winter is fourteen hun- 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 1, p. 461. 
"ifiid., Vol. 8, p. 86. 


dred," he writes, "and I am not surprised by any manifesta- 
tion of disappointment or dissatisfaction. This only I claim 
— that no interest, passion, prejudice or partiality of my own 
has controlled any decision I have made."^" 

But there was one wheel lacking in the Weed machine. 
The Democrats controlled the Senate, obstructing bills 
deemed by the Whigs essential to the public welfare, and re- 
fusing to confirm Seward's nominations. By preventing an 
agi'eement upon a candidate, preliminary to a joint ballot, 
they also blocked the election of a United States senator. 
This situation was intolerable to Weed. Without the Sen- 
ate, little could be accomplished and nothing of a strictly 
partisan character. Besides, Weed had his eye on the lucra- 
tive place of state printer. In the campaign of 1839, there- 
fore, he set to work to win the higher body of the Legisla- 
ture by carrying the Albany district, in which three sena- 
tors were to be chosen. For eighteen years, the Senate had 
been held by the Regency party, and, in all that time, Albany 
was numbered among the reliable Democratic districts. But 
Weed's friends now brought up eight thousand dollars from 
!New York. The Democrats had made a spirited fight, and, 
although they knew Weed was endowed with a faculty for 
management, they did not know of his money, or of the abil- 
ity of his lieutenants to place it. When the votes were 
counted, Weed's three nominees had an average majority of 
one hundred and thirty-three. This gave the Whigs nineteen 
senators and the Democrats thirteen. It was an appalling 
change for the Democrats, to whom it seemed the prologue 
to a defeat in 1840. In the "clean sweep" of oflBce-holders 
that followed, Tallmadge went back to the United States Sen- 
ate, and Weed took from Croswell the oflSce of public printer. 

The presidential election of 1840 began in December, 1839. 
During Clay's visit to Saratoga, in the preceding summer. 
Weed had told him he could not carry New York ; but, that 
Clay's friends in New York City, and along the river coun- 
ties, might not be unduly alarmed. Weed masked his purpose 
" F. W. Seward, Life of W. B. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 483. 


of forcing Harrison's nomination, by selecting delegates os- 
tensibly favourable to General Scott. Twenty delegates 
for Scott were, therefore, sent to the national convention at 
Harrisburg, two for Harrison and ten for Olay. On his way. 
Weed secured an agreement from the New England leaders 
to act with him, and, by a combination of the supporters of 
Scott and Harrison, the latter finally received one hundred 
and forty-eight votes to ninety for Clay. The disappointment 
of Clay's friends is historic. Probably nothing parallels it 
in American politics. The defeat of Seward at Chicago in 
1860, and of Blaine at Cincinnati in 1876, very seriously 
afifected their friends, but the disappointment of Clay's sup- 
porters at Harrisburg, in December, 1839, took the form of 
anger, which, for a time, seemed fatal to the ticket. "The 
nomination of Harrison," wrote Thurlow Weed, "so offended 
the friends of Clay that the convention was thrown entirely 
in the dark on the question of Vice President. The Kentucky 
delegation was asked to present a candidate, but they de- 
clined. Then John Clayton of Delaware was fixed upon, but 
Reverdy Johnson withdrew his name. Watkins Leigh of Vir- 
ginia and Governor Dudley of North Carolina were succes- 
sively designated, but they declined. While this was passing 
the Vice Presidency was repeatedly offered to New York, but 
we had no candidate. Albert H. Tracy was eminently quali- 
fied for usefulness in public life. He entertained a high and 
strict sense of official responsibility, and had he not pre- 
viously left us he would have been nominated. John Tyler 
was finally taken because we could get nobody else to 

The Harrisburg convention, unlike its unselfish prede- 
cessors, adjourned without a platform or declaration of 
principles; nor did the candidates, in accepting their nomi- 
nations, indulge in political discussion. Votes were wanted 
from all who opposed Van Buren's administration — from 
the strict constructionist friends of Tyler, although opposed 
to the whole Whig theory of government, as much as from 
" Thurlow Weed Baxnes, Ufe of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 77. 


the followers of Harrison, who believed in protective tariffs 
and internal improvements. 

Such action contrasted strangely with the work of the na- 
tional Democratic convention which met at Baltimore on 
May 6, 1840. If despondency filled the air, the delegates at 
least had the courage of their convictions. After unani- 
mously renominating Van Buren, it declared for a limited 
federal power, for the separation of public moneys from pri- 
vate banks, and for the constitutional inability of Congress 
to interfere with slavery in the States, pronouncing the ef- 
forts of Abolitionists both alarming and dangerous to the 
Union ; it opposed internal improvements by the general gov- 
ernment; the fostering of one industry to the injury of an- 
other ; the raising of more money than was needed for nec- 
essary expenses ; and the rechartering of a national bank. If 
this declaration did not shape the phrases, and marshal the 
sentences of future platforms of the party, it embraced the 
principles upon which Democracy went up to victory or 
down to defeat during the next two decades; and it must 
have carried Van Buren through successfully had not his ad- 
ministration fallen upon evil times. 

The President, with great moral courage and keen-sighted 
wisdom, met the crisis of 1837 with an admirable bearing. 
The statesman suddenly displaced the politician. In the 
three months intervening between the suspension of specie 
payments and the extra session of Congress, Van Buren pre- 
pared a message as clear and as unanswerable as the logic 
of Hamilton's state papers. The law, he said, required the 
secretary of the treasury to deposit public moneys only in 
banks paying their notes in specie, and, since all banks had 
suspended specie payments, it was necessary to provide some 
other custody. For this reason, he had summoned Congress. 
Then he analysed the cause of the panic, arguing that "the 
government could not help people earn a living, but it could 
refuse to aid the deception that paper is gold, and the delu- 
sion that value can arise without labour." Those who look 
to the action of the government, he declared, for specific aid 


to the citizen to relieve embarrassments arising from losses 
l)y reverses in commerce and credit, lose sight of the ends for 
-which government is created, and the powers with which it 
is clothed. In conclusion, he recommended the enactment of 
-an independent treasury scheme, divorcing the bank and the 

These words of wisdom, often repeated, long ago became 
the principle of all administrations, notably of that of Presi- 
dent Grant in the great crisis of 1873 ; and, except from 1841 
to 1846, the sub-treasury scheme has been a cardinal feature 
of American finance. But its enactment was a long, fierce 
battle. Beginning in 1837, the contest continued through 
one Congress and half of another. Clay resisted and Web- 
.ster denounced the project, which did not become a law until 
July 4, 1840 — too late to be of assistance to Van Buren in 
TS^ovember. Friends of the New Yorker loved to dwell upon 
tis courage in thus placing himself in the chasm between 
failing banks and a patriotic people, often paralleling it with 
the historic leap of Marcus Curtius into the Roman Forum 
to save the republic. "But with this difference," once ex- 
claimed Andrew B. Dickinson, an unlearned but brilliant 
Steuben County Whig, generally known as Bray Dickinson : 
"the Roman feller jumped into the gap of his own accord, 
but the people throw'd Van Buren in !" 

On August 12, 1840, the Whigs renominated William H. 
Seward for governor, and in the following month the Demo- 
crats named William C Bouck. There was a rugged honesty 
and ability about Bouck that commended him to the people. 
He was not brilliant ; he rarely attempted to speak in public ; 
And his education had been limited to a few months of school 
in each winter ; but he was a shrewd, wise Schoharie farmer, 
well read in the ways of men and in the book of the world. 
Seward thought him "a kind, honest, amiable, and sagacious 
man, his easy and fascinating manners lacking neither dig- 
nity nor grace." Beginning as town clerk, Bouck had served 
acceptably as sheriff, assemblyman, and for nineteen years as 
canal commissioner, personally superintending the construe- 


tion of the canal from Brockport to Lake Erie, and disburs- 
ing, without loss, eight millions of dollars. He had travelled 
up and down the State until the people came to know him as 
"the old white horse," in allusion to a favourite animal which 
he rode for many years; and to labourers and contractors 
his election became a matter of the greatest personal interest. 

But the hardships growing out of the panic of 1837 and 
the crisis of 1839 guided the actions of men. It made little 
diflference to them that Bouck had been a faithful, prudent, 
and zealous supporter of the canals, or that, like DeWitt 
Clinton, he had been removed as canal commissioner on 
purely political grounds. The issues were national — not 
state. Van Buren clearly saw the force and direction of pub- 
lic sentiment. Yet his sub-treasury measure, so beneficent in 
its aims that its theory was not lost in the necessities grow- 
ing out of the Civil War, proved the strongest weapon in the 
armory of his opponents. Webster, with mingled pathos and 
indignation, denounced his "disregard for the public distress" 
by his "exclusive concern for the interest of government and 
revenue," declaring that help must come to the people "from 
the government of the United States — from thence alone!" 
This was the cry of the greenbacker in 1876 and the argu- 
ment of the free silver advocate in 1896. "Upon this," said 
Webster, "I risk my political reputation, my honour, my all. 
He who expects to live to see these twenty-six States resum- 
ing specie payments in regular succession once more, may ex- 
pect to see the restoration of the Jews. Never. He will die 
without the sight." Yet Webster lived to see the resumption 
of specie payments in a very short time, and he lived long 
enough also to exclude this St. Louis speech from his col- 
lected works. Nevertheless, Webster's eloquence contributed 
to Van Buren's overwhelming defeat. 

Much has been written of the historic campaign of 1840. 
The enthusiasm has been called "frenzy" and "crazy fanata- 
cism." It has also been likened to the crusading spirit, 
aroused by the preaching of Peter the Hermit. "The na- 
tion," said Clay, "was like the ocean when convulsed by some 


terrible storm." Webster declared that "every breeze says 
change; the cry, the universal cry, is for a change." Long 
before campaigns usually begin New York was a blaze of ex- 
citement. Halls were insufficient to hold the crowds. Where 
hundreds had formerly assembled, thousands now appeared. 
The long lines of wagons, driven to the meeting places, raised 
clouds of dust such as mark the moving of armies. The Whig 
state convention at Utica became a mass-meeting of twenty- 
five thousand people, who formed into one great parade. 
"How long is this procession?" asked a bystander of one of 
the marshals. "Indeed, sir, I cannot tell," was the reply. 
"The other end of it is forming somewhere near Albany." 

The canvass became one of song, of association, and of 
imagination, which aroused thoughts that were intensely ani- 
mating and absorbing. The taunt of a Virginia newspaper 
that Harrison should remain in his log cabin on the banks of 
the Ohio made the log cabin "a symbol," as Weed happily 
expressed it, "of virtue that dwells in obscurity, of the hopes 
of the humble, of the privations of the poor, of toil and dan- 
ger, of hospitality and charity and frugality." Log cabins 
sprang up like gourds in a night. At the door, stood the 
cider barrel, and, hanging by the window, the omnipresent 
coonskin swayed in the breeze. They appeared on medals, in 
pictures, in fancy work, and in processions. Horace Greeley, 
who had done so much in 1838 through the columns of the 
Jeffersonian, now began the publication of the Log Cabin, 
filling whole sides of it with songs elaborately set to music, 
and making it so universally popular that the New York 
Tribune, established in the following year, became its legiti- 
mate successor in ability and in circulation. 

In his biography of Henry Clay, Schurz says that in no 
presidential canvass has there ever been "less thought." It 
is likely if there had been no log cabins, no cider, no coon- 
skins, and no songs, the result would have been the same, for, 
in the presence of great financial distress, the people seek re- 
lief very much as they empty a burning building. But the 
reader of the Log Cabin will find thought enough. Greeley's 


editorials summed up the long line of mistakes leading to 
the panic of 1837, and the people understood the situation. 
They were simply unwilling longer to trust the party in 

Evidence of this distrust astonished Democrats as much as 
it pleased the Whigs. The September election in Maine, fol- 
lowed in October by the result in Ohio and Indiana, both of 
which gave large Whig majorities, anticipated Harrison's 
overwhelming election in November. In New York, however, 
the returns were somewhat disappointing to the Whigs. Har- 
rison carried the State by thirteen thousand majority, re- 
ceiving in all 234 electoral votes to 60 for Van Buren ; but 
Seward's majority of ten thousand in 1838 now dropped to 
five thousand,^* while the Whig majority in the Assembly 
was reduced to four. 

Seward's weakness undoubtedly grew out of his message 
in the preceding January. With the approval of Dr. Knott 
of Union College, and Dr. Luckey, a distinguished Methodist 
divine, he recommended the establishment of separate 
schools for the children of foreigners and their instruction by 
teachers of the same faith and language. The suggestion cre- 
ated an unexpected and bitter controversy. Influential jour- 
nals of both parties professed to see in it only a desire to 
win Catholic favour, charging that Bishop Hughes of New 
York City had inspired the recommendation. At that time,, 
the Governor had neither met nor been in communication, 
with the Catholic prelate ; but, in the excitement, truth could 
not outrun misstatement, nor could the patriotism that 
made Seward solicitous to extend school advantages to the 
children of foreign parents, who were growing up in igno- 
rance, be understood by zealous churchmen. 

After his defeat. Van Buren retired to Lindenwald, in the 
vicinity of Kinderhook, his native village, where he was to 
live twenty-one years, dying at the age of eighty. Linden- 
wald was an old estate, whose acres had been cultivated for 

"William H. Seward, 222,011; Williain C. Bouck, 216,808.— Civil 
List, State of New York (1887), p. 166. 


one hundred and sixty years. William P. Van Ness, the dis- 
tinguished jurist and orator, once owned it, and, thirty years 
before the ex-President bought it, Irving had secluded him- 
self amidst its hills, while he mourned the death of his be- 
trothed, and finished the Enickeriocker. As the home of Van 
Buren, Lindenwald did not, perhaps, become a Monticello or 
a Montpelier. JeflEerson and Madison, having served eight 
years, the allotted term of honour, had formally retired, and 
upon them settled the halo of peace and triumph that belongs 
to the sage ; but life at Lindenwald, with its leisure, its rural 
quiet, and its freedom from public care, satisfied Van Bu- 
ren's bucolic tastes, and no doubt greatly mitigated the an- 
guish arising from bitter defeat, the proscription of friends, 
and the loss of party regard which he was destined to suffer 
during the next decade. 



The Whig state convention, assembled at Syracuse on Oc- 
tober 7, 1842, looked like the ghost of its predecessor in 1840. 
The buoyancy which then stamped victory on every face had 
given place to fear and forebodings. Eighteen months had 
left nothing save melancholy recollections. Even the log 
cabins, still in place, seemed to add to Whig depression, be- 
ing silent reminders of the days when melody and oratory, 
prophetic of success, filled hearts which could no longer be 
touched with hope and faith. This meant that the Whigs, in 
the election of 1841, had suffered a decisive defeat, losing the 
Assembly, the Senate, and most of the congressmen. Even 
Francis Granger, whose majority usually ran into the thou- 
sands, was barely elected by five hundred. Orleans County, 
at one time the centre of the anti-masonic crusade, sent San- 
ford E. Church to Albany, the first Democrat to break into 
the Assembly from the "infected district" since the abduction 
of William Morgan. 

Several reasons accounted for this change. Harrison's 
death, within a month after his inauguration, made John 
Tyler President, and Tyler first refused appointments to 
Whigs, and then vetoed the bill, passed by a Whig Congress, 
re-establishing the United States Bank. He said that he had 
been opposed, for twenty-five years, to the exercise of such a 
power, if any such power existed under the Constitution. 
This completed the break with the party that elected him. 
Henry Clay denounced his action, the Cabinet, except Web- 
ster, resigned in a body, and the Whigs with great unanim- 
ity indorsed the Kentucky statesman for President in 1844. 



To add to the complications in New York, John C. Spencer, 
who now became secretary of war, so zealously espoused and 
warmly defended the President that feelings of mutual dis- 
trust and ill-will soon grew up between him and Weed. It 
is doubtful if any New York Whig, at a time of such humilia- 
tion, could have accepted place in Tyler's Cabinet and re- 
mained on terms of political intimacy with Weed ; but, of all 
men, John C. Spencer was the least likely to do so. In Free- 
man's celebrated cartoon, ''The Whig Drill," Spencer is the 
only man in the squad out of step with Thurlow Weed, the 

Governor Seward also played a part in the story of his 
party's downfall. The school question, growing out of his 
recommendation that separate schools for the children of 
Eoman Catholics should share in the public moneys appro- 
priated by the State for school purposes, lost none of its bit- 
terness; the McLeod controversy put him at odds with the 
national Administration; and the Virginia controversy in- 
volved him in a correspondence that made him odious in the 
South. In his treatment of the McLeod matter, Seward was 
clearly right. Three years after the destruction of the Car- 
oline, which occurred during the Canadian rebellion, Alex- 
ander McLeod, while upon a visit in the State, boasted that 
he was a member of the attacking party and had killed the 
only man shot in the encounter. This led to his arrest on a 
charge of murder and arson. The British Minister based his 
demand for McLeod's release on the ground that the destruc- 
tion of the Caroline "was a public act of persons in Her Maj- 
esty's service, obeying the orders of their superior authori- 
ties." In approving the demand, Lord Palmerston suggested 
that McLeod's execution "would produce war, war immediate 
and frightful in its character, because it would be a war of 
retaliation and vengeance." Webster, then secretary of 
state, urged Seward to discontinue the prosecution and dis- 
charge McLeod ; but the Governor, promising a pardon if Mc- 
Leod was convicted, insisted that he had no power to inter- 
fere with the case until after trial, while the courts, upon an 


application for McLeod's discharge on habeas corpus, held 
that as peace existed between Great Britain and the United 
States at the time of the burning of the Caroline, and as Mc- 
Leod held no commission and acted without authority, Eng- 
land's assumption of responsibility for his act after his ar- 
rest did not oust the court of its jurisdiction. Fortunately, 
McLeod, proving his boast a lie by showing that he took 
no part in the capture of the Caroline, put an end to the con- 
troversy, but Seward's refusal to intervene broke whatever 
relations had existed between himself and Webster. 

The Virginia correspondence created even greater bitter- 
ness. The Governor discovered that a requisition for the 
surrender of three coloured men, charged with aiding the es- 
cape of a fugitive slave, was based upon a defective aflftdavit ; 
but, before he could act, the court discharged the prisoners 
upon evidence that no offence had been committed against 
the laws of Virginia. Here the matter might very properly 
have ended; but, in advising Virginia's governor of their 
discharge, Seward voluntarily and with questionable pro- 
priety, enlarged upon an interpretation of the constitutional 
provision for the surrender of fugitives from justice, contend- 
ing that it applied to acts made criminal by the laws of both 
States, and not to "an act inspired by the spirit of humanity 
and of the Christian religion," which was not penal in New 
York. This was undoubtedly as good law as it was poor poli- 
tics, for it needlessly aroused the indignation of Virginia, 
whose legislature retaliated by imposing special burdens 
upon vessels trading between Virginia and New York until 
such time as the latter should repeal the statute giving fugi- 
tive slaves the right of trial by jury. 

The immediate cause of the Whig defeat, however, had its 
origin in disasters incident to the construction of the canals. 
It had been the policy of Governor Marcy, and other Demo- 
cratic leaders, to confine the annual canal expenditures to 
the surplus revenues, and, in enlarging the Erie, it was de- 
termined to continue this policy. On the other hand, the 
Whigs advocated a speedy completion of the public works. 


limiting the state debt to an amount upon which interest 
could be paid out of the surplus revenues derived from the 
canal. This policy, backed by several Democratic members 
of the Senate in 1838, resulted in the authorisation of a loan 
of four millions for the Erie enlargement. In 1839 Seward, 
still confident of the State's ability to sustain the necessary 
debt, advised other improvements, including the completion 
of the Genesee Valley and Black River canals, as well as the 
construction of three railroads, at a total estimated expendi- 
ture of twelve to fifteen millions. By 1841, the debt had in- 
creased to eighteen millions, including the loan of four mil- 
lions, while the work was scarcely half finished. To add to 
the diflSculty, state stocks depreciated over twenty per cent., 
embarrassing the administration in its efforts to raise 
money. The Democrats pronounced such a policy disastrous 
and ruinous; and, although the Whigs replied that the 
original estimates were wrong, that the price of labour and 
material had advanced, and that when completed the canals 
would speedily pay for themselves, the people thought it time 
to call a halt, and in the election of 1841 they called it.^ 

It was this overwhelming defeat that so depressed the 
Whigs, gathered at the Syracuse convention, as they looked 
over the field for a gubernatorial candidate to lead them, if 
possible, out of the wilderness of humiliation. Seward had 
declined a renomination. He knew that his course, especially 

• "Seward had faults, which his accession to power soon displayed 
in bold relief. His natural tendencies were toward a government 
not merely paternal, but prodigal — one which, in its multiform en- 
deaTours to make every one prosperous, if not rich, was very likely 
to whelm all in general embarrassment, if not in general bank- 
ruptcy. Few governors have favoured, few senators voted for 
more unwisely lavish expenditures than he. Above the sus- 
picion of voting money into his own pocket, he has a rooted dis- 
like to opposing a project or bill whereby any of his attached 
friends are to profit. And, conceited as we all are, I think most men 
exceed him in the art of concealing from others their overweening 
faith in their own sagacity and discernment."— Horace Greeley, Rec- 
ollections of a Busy Life, p. 312. 


in the Virginia controversy, had aroused a feeling of hostil- 
ity among certain Whigs who not only resented his advance- 
ment over Granger and Fillmore, his seniors in years and in 
length of public service, but who dreaded his lead as too 
bold, too earnest, and too impulsive. The fact that the Aboli- 
tionists had already invited him to accept their nomination 
for President in 1844 indicated the extent to which his 
Virginia correspondence had carried him. So, he let his de- 
termination be known. "My principles are too liberal, too 
philanthropic, if it be not vain to say so, for my party," he 
wrote Christopher Morgan, then a leading member of Con- 
gress. "The promulgation of them offends many ; the opera- 
tion of them injures many; and their sincerity is questioned 
by about all. Those principles, therefore, do not receive fair 
consideration and candid judgment. There are some who 
know them to be right, and believe them to be sincere. These 
would sustain me. Others whose prejudices are aroused 
against them, or whose interests are in danger, would com- 
bine against me. I must, therefore, divide my party in con- 
vention. This would be unfortunate for them, and, of all 
others, the most false position for me. And what have I to 
lose by withdrawing and leaving the party unembarrassed? 
My principles are very good and popular ones for a man out 
of oflSce; they will take care of me, when out of oflSce, as 
they always have done. I have had enough. Heaven knows, 
of the power and pomp of place.'"* 

With Seward out of the way, Luther Bradish was the log- 
ical candidate for governor. Fillmore had many friends 
present, and John A. Collier of Binghamton, alternating be- 
tween hope and fear, let his wishes be known. But, as lieu- 
tenant-governor, Bradish had won popularity by firmness, 
patience, and that tact which springs from right feeling, 
rather than cold courtesy ; and, in the end, the vote proved 
him the favourite. For lieutenant-governor, the convention 
chose Gabriel Furman, a Brooklyn lawyer of great natural 
ability, who had been a judge of the municipal court and 
' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 547. 


was just then closing a term in the State Senate, but whose 
promising career was already marred by the opium habit. 
He is best remembered as one of Brooklyn's most valued 
local historians. The resolutions, adhering to the former 
"Whig policy, condemning Tyler's vetoes and indicating a 
preference for Clay, showed that the party, although 
stripped of its enthusiastic hopes, had lost none of its faith 
in its principles or confidence in its great standard-bearer. 

The Democrats had divided on canal improvements. Be- 
ginning in the administration of Governor Throop, one fac- 
tion, known as the Conservatives, had voted with the Whigs 
in 1838, while the other, called Radicals, opposed the con- 
struction of any works that would increase the debt. This di- 
vision reasserted itself in the Legislature which convened 
in January, 1842. The Radicals elected all the state officers. 
Azariah C. Flagg became comptroller, Samuel Young secre- 
tary of state, and George P. Barker attorney-general. Six 
tanal commissioners, belonging to the same wing of the 
party, were also selected. Behind them, as a leader of great 
force in the Assembly, stood Michael Hoffman of Herkimer, 
ready to rain fierce blows upon the policy of Seward and the 
Conservatives. Hoffman had served eight years in Congress, 
and three years as a canal commissioner. He was now, at 
•fifty-four years of age, serving his first term in the Assembly, 
bringing to the work a great reputation both for talents and 
integrity, and as a powerful and effective debater.* Hoffman 
was educated for a physician, but afterward turned to the 
law. "Had he not been drawn into public life," says Thurlow 

' "For four days the debate on a bill for the enlargement of the 
•canals shed darkness rather than light over the subject, and the 
chamber grew murky. One morning a tallish man, past middle age, 
with iron-gray locks drooping on his shoulders, and wearing a 
mixed suit of plain clothes, took the floor. I noticed that i)ens, 
newspapers, and all else were laid down, and every eye fixed on 
the speaker. I supposed he was some quaint old joker from the 
backwoods, who was going to afford the House a little fun. The 
first sentences arrested my attention. A beam of light shot through 
*he darkness, and I began to get glimpses of the question at issue. 


Weed, "he would have been as eminent a lawyer as he became 
a statesman."* 

The Albany Regency, as a harmonious, directing body, had, 
by this time, practically gone out of existence. Talcott was 
dead, Mafcy and Silas Wright were in Washington, Benja- 
min P. Butler, having resigned from the Cabinet as attorney- 
general, in 1838, had resumed the practice of his profession 
in New York City, and Van Buren, waiting for another term 
•of the Presidency, rested at Lindenwald. The remaining 
members of the original Regency, active as ever in political 
affairs, were now destined to head the two factions — Edwin 
€roswell, still editor of the Albany Argus, leading the Con- 
servatives, with Daniel S. Dickinson, William C. Bouck, 
Samuel Beardsley, Henry A. Foster, and Horatio Seymour. 
Azariah C. Flagg, with Samuel Young, George P. Barker, 
and Michael Hoffman, directed the Radicals. All were able 
men. Bouck carried fewer guns than Young ; Beardsley had 
weight and character, without much aptitude; Foster over- 
flowed with knowledge and was really an able man, but his 
domineering nature and violent temper reduced his influence. 
Seymour, now only thirty-two years old, had not yet entered 
upon his illustrious and valuable public career; nor had 
Daniel S. Dickinson, although of acknowledged ability, ex- 
hibited those traits which were to distinguish him in party 
quarrels. He did not belong in the class with Marcy and 
Wright, though few New Yorkers showed more indomitable 
courage than Dickinson — a characteristic that greatly 
strengthened his influence in the councils of the leaders 
whose differences were already marked with asperity. 

Success is wont to have magical effects in producing a wish 

Soon a broad belt of sunshine spread over the chamber. 'Who is 
he?' I asked a member. 'Michael Hoffman,' was the reply. He 
spoke for an hour, and though his manner was quiet and his diction 
simple, he was so methodical and lucid in his argument that, where 
all had appeared confused before, everything now seemed clear." 
— ^H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 173. 

' Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 1, p. 34. 


to put an end to difiference ; and the legislative winter of 1843 
became notable for the apparent adjustment of Democratic 
divisions. The Radicals proposed the passage of an act, 
known as the "stop and tax law of 1842," suspending the 
completion of the public works, imposing a direct tax, and 
pledging a portion of the canal revenues as a sinking fund 
for the payment of the existing debt. It was a drastic meas- 
ure, and leading Conservatives, with much vigour, sought to 
obtain a compromise permitting the gradual completion of 
the most advanced works. Bouck favoured sending an agent 
to Holland to negotiate a loan for this purpose, a suggestion 
pressed with some ardour until further effort threatened to 
jeopardise his chance of a renomination for governor; and 
when Bouck ceased his opposition other Conservatives fell 
into line. The measure, thus unobstructed, finally became 
the law, sending the Democrats into the gubernatorial cam- 
paign of 1842 with high hopes of success. 

By accident or design, the Democratic state convention 
also met at Syracuse on October 7. William C. Bouck and 
Daniel S. Dickinson had been the candidates, in 1840, for 
governor and lieutenant-governor, and they now demanded 
renomination. The Radicals wanted Samuel Young or 
Michael Hoflfman for governor; and, before the passage of 
the "stop and tax law," the contest bid fair to be a warm one. 
But, after making an agreement to pledge the party to the 
work of the last Legislature, the Radicals withdrew all oppo- 
sition to Bouck and Dickinson. In their resolutions, the 
Democrats applauded Tyler's vetoes ; approved the policy of 
his administration ; denounced the re-establishment of a na- 
tional bank; opposed a protective tariff; and favoured the 
sub-treasury, hard money, a strict construction of the Con- 
stitution, and direct taxation for public works. 

The campaign that followed stirred no enthusiasm on 
either side. The Whigs felt the weight of the canal debt, 
which rested heavily upon the people; and, although many 
enthusiastic young men, active in the organisation of Clay 
clubs and in preparing the way for the Kentucky statesman 

1843] AN AVALANCHE 55 

in 1844, held mass-meetings and read letters from their great 
leader, New York again passed under the control of the 
Democrats by a majority of nearly twenty-two thousand.' It 
was not an ordinary defeat ; it was an avalanche. Only one 
Whig senator, thirty Whig assemblymen, and nine or ten 
congressmen were saved in the wreck. "I fear the party 
must break up from its very foundations," Fillmore wrote 
Weed. "There is no cohesive principle — no common head."^ 
Seward took no such pessimistic view. He had the promise 
of the future in him, a capacity for action, a ready sympathy 
with men of all classes, occupations, and interests, and he 
saw rays of light where others looked only into darkness. 
"It is not a bad thing to be left out of Congress," he wrote 
Christopher Morgan, depressed by his defeat. "You will soon 
be wanted in the State, and that is a better field."' Seward 
had the faculty of slow, reflective brooding, and he often saw 
both deep and far. In the night of that blinding defeat only 
such a nature could find comfort in the outlook. 

"William C. Bouck, 208,072; Luther Bradish, 186,091.— Cm? Lis*, 
State of New Tork (1887), p. 166. 
" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 96. 
' F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. E. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 627. 




From the moment of William C. Bouck's inauguration as 
governor, in January, 1843, Democratic harmony disap- 
peared. It was supposed the question of canal improvement 
had been settled by the "stop and tax law" of 1842, and by 
the subsequent agreement of the Conservatives, at the Syra- 
cuse convention, in the following October. No one believed 
that any serious disposition existed on the part of the Gov- 
ernor to open the wound, since he knew a large majority 
of his party opposed the resumption of the work, and that 
the state oflScers, who had viewed his nomination with cold- 
ness, were watching his acts and critically weighing his 

But he also knew that his most zealous and devoted friends, 
living along the line of the Erie, Black River, and Genesee 
Valley canals, earnestly desired the speedy completion of 
certain parts of these waterways. In order to please them, 
his message suggested the propriety of taking advantage of 
the low prices of labour and provisions to finish some of the 
work. He did it timidly. There was no positive recommenda- 
tion. He touched the subject as one handles a live electric wire, 
trembling lest he rouse the sleeping opposition of the Radi- 
cals, or fail to meet the expectation of friends. But the rec- 
ommendation, too expressionless to cheer his friends and too 
energetic to suit his opponents, foreshadowed the pitfalls into 
which he was to tumble. He had been the first to suggest the 
Erie enlargement, and he knew better than any other man 
in the State how important was its completion ; yet he said 
as little in its favour as could be said, if he said anything at 



all, and that little seemed to be prompted, not so much for 
the good of the State, as to satisfy the demands of ardent 
friends, who had contributed to his nomination and election. 

Severe criticism of the message, by the radical press, 
quickly showed that not even a temporary reconciliation had 
been effected by the act of 1842. Had the Governor now 
been suflSciently endowed with a faculty for good manage- 
ment, he must have strengthened himself and weakened his 
enemies with the vast amount of patronage at his command. 
Not since the days of Governor Lewis, had the making of so 
many appointments been committed to an executive. The 
Whigs, under Seward, had taken every office in the State. 
But Bouck, practising the nepotism that characterised 
Lewis' administration forty years before, took good care of 
his own family, and then, in the interest of harmony, turned 
whatever was left over to the members of the Legislature, 
who selected their own friends regardless of their relations- 
to the Governor. There is something grim and pathetic in the 
picture of the rude awakening of this farmer governor, who, 
while working in his own weak way for harmony and concil- 
iation, discovered, too late, that partisan rivalries and per- 
sonal ambition had surrounded him with a cordon of enemiea 
that could not be broken. To add to his humiliation, it fre- 
quently happened that the nominations of those whom he 
greatly desired confirmed, were rejected in the Senate by 
the united votes of Radicals and Whigs. 

The controversy growing out of the election of a state 
printer to succeed Thurlow Weed increased the bitterness 
between the factions. Edwin Croswell had been removed 
from this office in 1840, and the Conservatives now proposed 
to reinstate him. Croswell had carefully avoided taking part 
in the factional contests then beginning to rend the party. 
He had supported, apparently in good faith, the "stop and 
tax law" of 1842, and, in the campaigns of 1841 and 1842, 
had been associated with Azariah C. Flagg in the publica- 
tion of the Rough Hewer, a weekly paper of radical views, 
issued from the press of the Argus; but his sympathies were 


with the Conservatives, and when they sought to re-elect him 
public printer, the Radicals, led by Flagg, announced as their 
candidate Henry H. Van Dyck, the owner, since 1840, of a 
one-third interest in the Argus. For seventeen years, from 
1823 to 1840, Croswell had held the office of state printer, 
accumulating wealth and enjoying the regard of the party ; 
and Flagg and his colleagues contended that he should now 
give way to another equally deserving. This was a strong 
reason in a party that believed in rotation in office, especially 
when coupled with a desire on the part of the Radicals to 
control the Argus; and, to avoid an open rupture, Croswell 
proposed that a law be passed making the Argus the state 
paper, without naming a public printer. Van Dyck objected 
to this, as it would leave Croswell in control of the establish- 
ment. Besides, Van Dyck claimed that, at the time he pur- 
chased an interest in the Argus, Croswell promised to sup- 
port him for state printer. This Croswell denied. 

Instantly, the air was alive with the thrill of battle. Cros- 
well faced difficulties such as no other office-seeker had thus 
far encountered, difficulties of faction, difficulties of public 
sentiment, and difficulties of personnel. Flagg's conceded 
fidelity and honesty as a public officer, supplemented by his 
shrewdness and sagacity, made him the unquestioned leader 
of the Radicals; and, in this initial and crucial test of 
strength, he was indisposed to compromise or conciliate ; but 
in Edwin Croswell he met the most impressive figure among 
the gladiators of the party. Croswell was the veteran editor 
whose judgment had guided its tactics, and whose words 
were instinct with life, with prophecy, and with fate. When 
he entered the pilot-house of his party, men knew something 
was going to happen. A perceptible hush seemed to an- 
nounce his presence. At such times, his caustic sentences, 
clear and compact, were rarely conciliatory; but when he 
turned away from the wheel, achievement had proven his 
right to leadership. 

In his contest with Flagg, however, Croswell encountered 
angry criticism from the Radicals and frigid approval from 


some Conservatives. His candidacy plainly impaired the 
high respect which his conduct and abilities had brought 
him. It was a mistake from every point of view; but, 
once committed to such a course his Conservative friends 
persevered, giving him finally sixty-six out of one hundred 
and six votes cast. A speech made by Assemblyman 
Leland of Steuben affords an interesting glimpse of the many 
influences summoned from every quarter, until men found 
themselves in the centre of a political cauldron from which 
there seemed no escape. "All who have come up here for of- 
fice," said Leland, "have been compelled to take one side or 
the other, and as neither side knows what will be the result, 
some have been disposed to cry 'good Lord, if a Lord, or good 
devil, if not a Lord.' " The newspapers added to the perils 
of the quarrel. In the discussion preceding the election, the 
Albany Atlas, a daily paper recently established, but until 
now without political prominence, became the organ of the 
Kadicals; and between it and the Argus a fierce editorial 
battle, which extended to other Democratic papers through- 
out the State, made the factional division broader and more 

Despite their quarrels, which continued throughout the 
legislative session, the Democrats, in the state election of No- 
vember, 1843, carried two-thirds of the Assembly and five- 
sixths of the Senate. Nevertheless, the strength of the Con- 
servatives was greatly increased. The utter and sudden aban- 
donment of the canals, marked by a long line of tools left 
where the workmen dropped them, had played an important 
part in the campaign, and when the Democratic legislative 
caucus convened, in January, 1844, the friends of canal im- 
provement easily defeated Michael Hoffman for speaker by 
a vote of fifty-six to thirty-five, in favour of Elisha Litchfield 
of Onondaga. Henry A. Foster, also an uncompromising 
champion of the Conservatives, was elected president pro 
tern, of the Senate. Litchfield had been in Congress. He 
was a strong man of acknowledged influence in the central 
counties of the State. Besides, he had been a faithful fol- 


lower and an ardent admirer of Croswell. There were those 
who thought Horatio Seymour ought to be speaker ; and, for 
a time, it looked as if he might secure the oflSce. He was the 
real leader of the Conservatives, and he had more friends 
than Litchfield. But Litchfield had Croswell. 

Backed by such a re-enforcement of Conservatives, Gover- 
nor Bouck spoke of canal improvement with less timidity. 
He admitted the necessity of the tax law of 1842, but sug- 
gested the completion of "such new works as can be done 
with better economy than to sustain those designed to be 
superseded" and "are exposed to great and permanent in- 
jury." There was nothing forceful in this recommendation. 
He still kept the middle of the road, but his request practi- 
cally amounted to the completion of some of the new work. 
It meant the finishing of the Schoharie aqueduct, improving 
the Jordan level, enlarging the locks of the Erie canal, and 
going on with the construction of the Black River and Gene- 
see Valley canals. 

The Radicals, realising the seriousness of the situation, 
now rested their hopes upon an elaborate report by Robert 
Dennison, chairman of the Senate canal committee. It was 
a telling blow. It attacked the estimated, as compared to the 
actual, cost of the canals, charging engineers with culpable 
ignorance or corrupt intention. The Chenango canal, it 
said, was estimated to cost |1,000,000; it actually cost 
$2,417,000. The first estimate of the Black River canal called 
for an expenditure of $437,000 ; after work was commenced, 
a recalculation made it $2,431,000. It cost, finally, over 
$2,800,000. The Genesee Valley canal presented even 
greater disparity, and more glaring ignorance. The 
original estimate fixed the cost at $1,774,000. After- 
ward, the same engineer computed it at $4,900,000; 
and it cost over $5,500,000. The State would have 
made money, the report said, had it built macadamised 
roads, instead of canals, at a cost of $4,000 a mile, and paid 
teamsters two dollars a day for hauling all the produce that 
the canals would transport when finished. In conclusion, 


Dennison declared that work on the canals could not be 
resumed without laying an additional direct tax. This state- 
ment touched the pocket-books of the people; and, in the 
opinion of the Radicals, closed the discussion, for no Demo- 
crat, confronting a presidential and gubernatorial election, 
would dare burden his party with another direct canal tax. 

Horatio Seymour, chairman of the canal committee of 
the Assembly, now appeared with a report, covering seventy- 
one octavo pages, which illuminated the question even to the 
enlightenment of Michael Hoffman. It was the first display 
of that mastery of legislative skill and power, which Sey- 
mour's shrewd discerning mind was so well calculated to 
acquire. The young Oneida statesman had been a favourite 
since his advent in the Assembly in 1842. His handsome face, 
made more attractive by large, luminous eyes, and a kind, 
social nature, peculiarly fitted him for public life ; and, back 
of his fascinating manners, lay sound judgment and great 
familiarity with state affairs. Like Seward, he possessed, in 
this respect, an advantage over older members, and he was 
now to show something of the moral power which the Au- 
burn Senator displayed when he displeased the short-sighted 
partisans who seemed to exist and to act only for the 

In presenting his report Seymour was careful to sustain 
the pledges of the act of 1842, and to condemn the pre-exist- 
ing policy of creating additional debts for the purpose of 
constructing new canals or enlarging the Erie. With gentle 
and cunning skill he commended Azariah C. Flagg's policy, 
adopted in 1835, of using only the surplus revenue of the 
canals for such purposes. "The errors we have committed," 
said his report, "are not without their utility or profitable 
teaching. The corruptions of extravagance and the bitter 
consequences of indebtedness, have produced their own cor- 
rectives, and public opinion, admonished by the past, has re- 
turned to its accustomed and healthful channels, from which 
it will not be readily diverted. There is no portion of our 
citizens who desire to increase our state indebtedness, or to 


do aught to the detriment of our common interests, when 
they are shown the evils that inevitably follow in the train 
of borrowing large sums of money, to be repaid, perhaps, 
in periods of pecuniary distress and embarrassment. Neither 
is it true, on the other hand, that any considerable number 
of our citizens are opposed to the extension of our canals 
when it can be effected by the aid of surplus revenues."^ 

This last sentence was the keynote. Bouck had suggested 
the principle, and other Conservatives had vainly tried to 
enforce it, but it remained for Seymour to obtain for it a 
fair and candid hearing. With great clearness, he unfolded 
the condition of the public works and of the public finances, 
and, with able reasoning, he showed that, out of the canal 
revenues, all the pledges of the act of 1842 could be met, and 
out of the surplus revenues, all the pledges of the act of 1836 
could be completed. At the conclusion, he introduced a bill 
providing for the resumption of work along the lines set 
forth in the report. 

The reports of Dennison and Seymour reduced the issue to 
its lowest terms. Uennison wanted the surplus revenues, if 
any, applied to the payment of the state debt; Seymour in- 
sisted upon their use for the enlargement of the Erie and 
the completion of the Black River and Genesee Valley canals. 
Both favoured a sinking fund, with which to extinguish the 
state debt, and both opposed the construction of any new 
work which should add to that debt. But Dennison, with 
pessimistic doggedness, denied that there would be sufiScient 
surplus to produce the desired result. Seymour, with much 
of the optimism of Seward, cherished the hope that rich tolls, 
growing larger as navigation grew better, would flow into 
the treasury, until all the canals would be completed and all 
the debts wiped out. The Radical was more than a pessimist 
— he was a strict constructionist of the act of 1842. He held 
that the Seymour bill was a palpable departure from the pol- 
icy of that act, and that other measures, soon to follow, would 
eventually overthrow such a policy. To all this Seymour re- 

' Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of NeiD York, Vol. 3, p. 412. 


plied in his report, that "just views of political economy are 
not to be disseminated by harsh denunciations, which create 
the suspicion that there is more of hostility to the interests 
of those assailed than an honest desire to protect the treas- 
ury of the State."^ 

Hoffman and Seymour set the tone to the debate in the 
Assembly. They were, admittedly, the leaders of the two 
factions, and, although Hoffman possessed remarkable pow- 
ers of denunciation, which he used freely against measures, 
his courtesy toward opponents was no less marked than Sey- 
mour's.^ Other Conservatives supported the measure with 
ability. But it was Seymour's firmness of mind, suavity of 
manner, unwearied patience, and incomparable temper, 
under a thousand provocations, that made it possible to pass 
the bill, substantially as he wrote it, by a vote of sixty-seven 
to thirty-eight. Even Michael Hoffman refused to vote 
against it, although he did not vote for it. 

The measure met fiercer opposition in the Senate. It had 
more acrid and irritable members than the Assembly, and 
its talkers had sharper tongues. In debate, Poster was the 
most formidable, but Albert Lester's acerbity of temper fixed 
the tone of the discussion. Finally, when the vote was taken 
the Democrats broke evenly for and against the measure; 
but, as five Whigs supported it, the bill finally passed, sev- 
enteen to thirteen. 

It was a great victory for Seymour, then only thirty-four 
years old. Indeed, the history of the session may be de- 
scribed as the passage of a single measure by a single man 
whose success was based on supreme faith in the Erie canal. 
Seymour flowingly portrayed its benefits, and, with prophetic 
eye, saw the deeply ladened boats transporting the produce 
of prosperous farmers who had chosen homes in the West 

* Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of New York, Vol. 3, p. 412. 

• "One morning Hoffman rose to reply to Seymour, but on learn- 
ing that he was ill he refused to deliver his speech for two or three 
days, till Seymour was able to be in his seat." — H. B. Stanton, 
Random Recollections, p. 175. 


when access was rendered so easy. What seemed to others 
to threaten disaster to the State, appealed to him as a great 
highway of commerce that would yield large revenues to the 
Commonwealth and abundantly bless its people. He pre- 
dicted the building of villages and the development of diver- 
sified industries along its banks, and, in one of his captiva- 
ting sentences, he described the pleasure of travelling quickly 
by packets, viewing the scenery of the Mohawk Valley by day 
and sleeping comfortably in a cabin-berth at night. But 
he did not favour building so rapidly as to burden the State 
with debt. This was the mistake of the Seward administra- 
tion, and the inevitable reaction gave the Radicals an argu- 
ment for delay, and Dennison an opportunity for a telling 
report. Seymour put his faith in the earning capacity of 
the Erie canal. Forty years later, when he advocated the 
abolition of tolls, he found all his predictions more than 



The canal contest and Horatio Seymour's success preceded 
many surprises and disappointments which were to be dis- 
closed in the campaign of 1844. Never were the motions of the 
political pendulum more agitated or more irregular. For three 
years, public sentiment had designated Henry Clay and Mar- 
tin Van Buren as the accepted candidates of their respective 
parties for President ; and, until the spring of 1844, the con- 
fidence of the friends of the Kentucky statesman did not ex- 
ceed the assurance of the followers of the ex-President. In- 
deed, the Democratic party was known throughout the coun- 
try as the "Van Buren party," and, although James 
Buchanan, John C. Calhoun, and Lewis Cass had each been 
named as suitable persons for Chief Executive, the sage of 
Lindenwald was the party's recognised leader and prospect- 
ive candidate. His sub-treasury scheme, accepted as wise 
and salutary, was still the corner-stone of the party, but- 
tressed by a tariff for revenue and opposition to a national 

In national afifairs, the Democratic party in New York was 
still a unit. The Legislature of 1843 had re-elected Silas Wright 
to the United States Senate, without a dissenting Democratic 
vote ; and a state convention, held at Syracuse in September 
of the same year, and made up of Radicals and Conservatives, 
had instructed its delegation to support New York's favour- 
ite son. But a troublesome problem suddenly confronted 
Van Buren. President Tyler had secretly negotiated a treaty 
of annexation with Texas, ostensibly because of the contigu- 
ity and great value of its territory, in reality, because, as Cal- 



houn, then secretary of state, showed in his correspondence 
with Great Britain, Texas seemed indispensable to the pres- 
ervation and perpetuation of slavery. Texas had paved the 
way for such a treaty by providing, in its constitution, for 
the establishment of slavery, and by prohibiting the importa- 
tion of slaves from any country other than the United States. 
But for three months friends of the treaty in the United 
States Senate had vainly endeavoured to find a two-thirds 
majority in favour of its ratification. Then, the exponents of 
slavery, having secretly brought to their support the enor- 
mous prestige of Andrew Jackson, prepared to nominate a 
successor to President Tyler who would favour the treaty. 

Van Buren had never failed the South while in the United 
States Senate. He had voted against sending abolition lit- 
erature through the mails into States that prohibited its cir- 
culation ; he had approved the rules of the Senate for tabling 
abolition petitions without reading them; he had publicly 
deprecated the work of abolition leaders ; and, by his silence, 
had approved the mob spirit when his friends were breaking 
up abolition meetings. But, in those days, American slavery 
was simply seeking its constitutional right to exist unmo- 
lested where it was; and, although the anti-slavery crusade 
from 1830 to 1840, had profoundly stirred the American con- 
science, slavery had not yet, to any extended degree, entered 
into partisan politics. The annexation of Texas, however, 
was an aggressive measure, the first of the great movements 
for the extension of slavery since the Missouri Compromise ; 
and it was important to the South to know in advance where 
the ex-President stood. His administration had been ad- 
verse to annexation, and rumour credited him with unabated 
hostility. To force him into the open, therefore, William H. 
Hammit, a member of Congress from Mississippi, addressed 
him a letter on the 27th of March, 1844. "I am an un- 
pledged delegate to the Baltimore convention," wrote Ham- 
mit, "and it is believed that a full and frank declaration of 
your opinion as to the constitutionality and expediency of 
immediately annexing Texas will be of great service to the 


cause, at a moment so critical of its destiny."^ Van Burea 
held this letter until the 20th of April, thirty-seven days be- 
fore the meeting of the convention. When he did reply he 
recalled the fact that in 1837, after an exhaustive considera- 
tion of the question, his administration had decided against 
annexation, and that nothing had since occurred to change 
the situation ; but that if, after the subject had been fully dis- 
cussed, a Congress chosen with reference to the question 
showed that the popular will favoured it, he would yield. It 
was a letter of great length, elaborately discussing every 
point directly or indirectly relating to the subject. 

Van Buren deeply desired the nomination, and if the South 
supported him he was practically certain of it. It was in. 
view of the necessity of such support that Van Buren's let- 
ter has been pronounced by a recent biographer "one of the 
finest and bravest pieces of political courage, and deserves 
from Americans a long admiration."" Such eulogy is worth- 
ily bestowed if Van Buren, at the time of the Hammit letter, 
fully appreciated the gravity of the situation; but there is 
no evidence that he understood the secret and hostile purpose 
which led up to the Hammit inquiry, and the letter itself is 
evidence that he sought to conciliate the Southern wing of 
his party. Charles Jared Ingersoll of Pennsylvania, in his 
diary of May 6, 1844, declares that nearly all of Van Buren's 
admirers and most of the Democratic press were even then 
committed to annexation. Nevertheless, Van Buren and his 
trusted advisers could not have known of the secret plotting 
of Buchanan's and Cass's followers, or of the deception 
shrewdly practised by Cave Johnson of Tennessee, ostensibly 
a confidential friend, but really a leader in the plot to de- 
feat Van Buren.* Besides, the sentiment of the country un- 

' Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of New York, Vol. 3. p. 441. 

' Edward M. Shepard, Life of Martin Tan Buren, p. 407. 

' "Judge Fine, Mr. Butler, and other members of the New York 
delegation, reposed great confidence in the opinions and state- 
ments of Mr. Cave Johnson, of Tennessee. He frequently met with 
the delegation, and expressed himself in the strongest terms of 


mistakably recognised that powerful and weighty as the in- 
ducements for annexation appeared, they were light when 
opposed in the scale of reason to the treaty of amity and 
commerce with Mexico, which must be scrupulously observed 
so long as that country performed its duties and respected 
treaty rights. Even after the nomination of a President only 
sixteen senators out of flfty-one voted for annexation, prov- 
ing that the belief still obtained, in the minds of a very large 
and influential portion of the party, that annexation was 
decidedly objectionable, since it must lead, as Benton put 
it in his great speech delivered in May, 1844, to an unjust, un- 
constitutional war with Mexico upon a weak and groundless 
pretext. Thus, Van Buren had behind him, the weight of 
the argument, a large majority of the Senate, including Silas 
Wright, his noble friend, and a party sentiment that had not 
yet yielded to the crack of the southern whip; and he was 
ignorant of the plan, already secretly matured, to defeat him 
with the help of the followers of Buchanan and Cass by in- 
sisting upon the two-thirds rule in the convention. Under 
these circumstances, it did not require great courage to re- 
aflSrm his previous views so forcibly and ably ex- 
pressed. Cognisant, however, of the growing desire 
in the South for annexation, he took good care to 
remove the impression that he was a hard-shell, by 
promising to yield his opinion to the judgment of a 
personal and political friendship towards Mr. Van Buren and Mr. 
Wright. He said he regretted that the Democratic convention in 
Tennessee had not named Mr. Van Buren as the candidate. So 
strong was the confidence in Mr. Johnson as a friend of Mr. Van 
Buren, that he was apprised of all our plans in regard to the 
organisation of the convention, and was requested to nominate 
Gov. Hubbard of New Hampshire, as temporary chairman. But 
when the convention assembled Gen. Saunders of North Carolina 
called the convention to order and nominated Hendrick B. Wright, 
of Pennsylvania, a friend of Mr. Buchanan, as temporary president! 
Messrs. Walker, Saunders, and Cave Johnson were the principal 
managers for the delegates from the southern section of the 
tTnion."— Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of New York, Vol 3 
p. 447. 


new Congress. This was a long step in the direction of 
consent. It virtually said, "If you elect a Congress that will 
ratify the treaty and pay the price, I will not stand in your 
way." In the presence of such complacency, the thought nat- 
urally occurs that he might have gone a step farther and 
consented to yield his opinions at once had he known or even 
suspected the secret plans of his southern opponents, the 
bitterness of Calhoun and Robert J. Walker, and their under- 
standing with the friends of Buchanan and Cass. Jack- 
son's letter favourable to annexation, skilfully procured for 
publication just before the convention, "to blow Van out 
of water," as his enemies expressed it, was, indeed, known 
to Van Buren, but the latter believed its influence discounted 
by the great confidence Jackson subsequently expressed in 
his wisdom.* 

Three days before the date of Van Buren's letter, Henry 
Clay, writing upon the same subject, expressed the opinion 
that annexation at this time, without the assent of Mexico, 
would be a measure"compromising the national character, in- 
volving us certainly in war with Mexico, probably with other 
foreign powers, dangerous to the integrity of the Union, inex- 
pedient to the present financial condition of the country, and 
not called for by any general expression of public opinion." 
Van Buren had visited Clay at Ashland in 1842, and, after 
the publication of their letters, it was suggested that a bar- 
gain had then been made to remove the question of annexa- 
tion from politics. However this may be, the friends of the 
ex-President, after the publication of his letter, understood, 
quickly and fully, the gravity of the situation. Subterranean 

* "The danger of Van Buren's difference with Jackson it was 
sought to avert. Butler visited Jackson at the Hermitage, and 
doubtless showed him for what sinister end he had been used. 
Jackson did not withdraw his approval of annexation; but publicly 
declared his regard for Van Buren to be so great, his confidence 
in Van Buren's love of country to be so strengthened by long 
intimacy, that no difference about Texas could change his opinion. 
But the work of Calhoun and Eobert J. Walker had been too well 
done." — ^Edward M. Shepard, Life of Martin Van Buren, p. 407. 


activity was at its height all through the month of May. Men 
wavered and changed, and changed again. So great was the 
alarm that leading men of Ohio addressed their delegation 
in Congress, insisting upon Van Buren's support. It was a 
moment of great peril. The agitators themselves became 
frightened. A pronounced reaction in favour of Van Buren 
threatened to defeat their plans, and the better to conceal 
intrigue and tergiversation they deemed it wise to create the 
belief that opposition had been wholly and finally 
abandoned. In this they proved eminently successful. 
"Many of the strongest advocates of annexation," wrote a 
member of the New York delegation in Congress, on May 18, 
nine days before the convention, "have come to regard the 
grounds taken by Van Buren as the only policy consistent 
not only with the honour, but the true interests of the coun- 
try. Such is fast becoming and will soon be the opinion of 
the whole South.'" But the cloud, at last, burst. No sooner 
had the Baltimore convention convened than Benjamin F. 
Butler, the ardent friend and able spokesman of Van Buren, 
discovered that the backers of Cass and Buchanan were act- 
ing with the Southerners in the interest of a rule that re- 
quired two-thirds of all the delegates in the convention to 
nominate. Instantly the air was thick with suggestion, de- 
vices, expedients. All the arts of party emergency went on 
at an unprecedented rate. The eloquent New Yorker, his 
clear, tenor voice trembling with emotion, fought the battle 
on the highest moral grounds. 

With inexhaustible tenacity, force, and resource, he 
laboured to hold up to men's imagination and to burn into 
their understanding the shame and dishonour of adopting a 
rule, not only unsound and false in principle, but which, if 
adhered to, would coerce a majority to yield to a minority. 
"I submit," declared Butler, in closing, "that to adopt a rule 
which requires what we know cannot be done, unless the ma- 
jority yield to the minority, is to subject ourselves to the 
rule, not of reason, but of despotism, and to defeat the true 
» Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of New York, Vol. 3, p. 444. 


purposes and objects of this convention — the accomplish- 
ment of the people's will for the promotion of the people's 
^ood." * 

The adoption of the rule, by a vote of 148 to 118, showed 
that the Democratic party did not have a passionate devotion 
for Martin Van Buren. Buchanan opposed his nomination; 
leading men in other States did not desire him. The New 
England States, with Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, 
Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, had in- 
structed for him ; yet sixty-three of these instructed delegates 
voted for the two-thirds rule, knowing that its adoption 
would defeat him. The rule received thirty majority, and 

' Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of New York, Vol. 3, p. 

"The real contest took place over the adoption of the rule re- 
quiring a two-thirds vote for the nomination. For it was through 
this rule that enough Southern members, chosen before Van Buren's 
letter, were to escape obedience to their instructions to vote for 
him. Kobert J. Walker, then a senator from Mississippi, a man 
of interesting history and large ability, led the Southerners. He 
quoted the precedent of 1832 when Van Buren had been nominated 
ior the Vice Presidency under the two-thirds rule, and that of 1835, 
when he had been nominated for the Presidency. These nomina- 
tions had led to victory. In 1840 the rule had not been adopted. 
Without this rule, he said amid angry excitement, the party would 
yield to those whose motto seemed to be 'rule or ruin.' Butler, 
Daniel S. Dickinson, and Marcus Morton led the Northern 
ranks. . . . Morton said that under the majority rule Jefferson 
had been nominated; that rule had governed state, county, and 
township conventions. Butler admitted that under the rule Van 
Buren would not be nominated, although a majority of the con- 
vention was known to be for him. In 1832 and 1835 the two- 
thirds rule had prevailed because it was certainly known who 
would be nominated; and the rule operated to aid not to defeat 
the majority. If the rule were adopted, it would be by the votes 
of States which were not Democratic, and would bring 'dismember- 
ment and final breaking up of the party.' Walker laughed at But- 
ler's 'tall vaulting' from the floor; and, refusing to shrink from the 
Van Buren issue, he protested against New York dictation, and 
wamingly said that, if Van Buren were nominated. Clay would be 
elected."— Edward M. Shepard, Life of Martin Tan Buren, p. 408. 


Van Buren, on the first ballot, received only thirteen. On the 
second ballot he dropped to less than a majority; on the 
seventh he had only ninety-nine votes. The excitement 
reached a climax when a motion to declare him the nominee 
by a majority vote, was ruled out of order. In the pande- 
monium, the New Yorkers, for the first time, seemed to un- 
loose themselves, letting fly bitter denunciations of the 
treachery of the sixty-three delegates who were pledged to 
Van Buren's support. When order was restored, a Virginian 
suddenly put forward the name of James K. Polk as that of 
"a pure, whole-hogged Democrat." Then the convention ad- 
journed until the next day. 

Harmony usually follows a bitter convention quarrel. 
Men become furiously and sincerely indignant; but the de- 
feated ones must accept the results, or, Samson-like, destroy 
themselves in the destruction of their party. The next morn- 
ing, Daniel S. Dickinson, the most violently indignant the 
day before, declared that "he loved this convention because 
it had acted so like the masses." In a high state of nervous 
excitement, Samuel Young had denounced "the abominable 
Texas question" as the firebrand thrown among them, but his 
manner now showed that he, also, had buried the hatchet. 
Even the serene, philosophic Butler, who, in "an ecstacy of 
painful excitement," had "leaped from the floor and 
stamped," to use the language of an eye-witness, now re- 
sumed his wonted calmness, and on the ninth ballot, in the 
midst of tremendous cheering, used the discretion vested iu 
him to withdraw Van Buren's name. In doing so, he took 
occasion to indicate his preference for James K. Polk, his 
personal friend. Following this announcement, Dickinson 
cast New York's thirty-five votes for the Tennesseean, who 
immediately received the necessary two-thirds vote. The sit- 
uation had given Polk peculiar advantages. The partisans 
of Cass and Buchanan, having willingly defeated Van Buren, 
made the friends of the New Yorker thirsty to put their 
knives into these betrayers. This situation, opening the door 
for a compromise, brought a "dark horse" into the race for 


the first time in the history of national conventions. Such 
conditions are common enough nowadays, but it may well be 
doubted if modern political tactics ever brought to the sur- 
face a more inferior candidate. "Polk ! Great God, what a 
nomination!" wrote Governor Letcher of Kentucky to 

To make the compromise complete, the convention, by ac- 
clamation, nominated Silas Wright for Vice President. But 
the man who had recently declined a nomination to the Su- 
preme Court of the United States, and who, after the defeat 
of Van Buren, had refused the use of his name for President, 
did not choose, he said, "to ride behind the black pony." A 
third ballot resulted in the selection of George M. Dallas of 
Pennsylvania. Among the resolutions adopted, it was de- 
clared that "our title to the whole of Oregon is clear and un- 
questionable ; that no portion of the same ought to be ceded 
to England or any other power ; and the reoccupation of Ore- 
gon and the reannexation of Texas at the earliest practicable 
period, are great American measures, which the convention 
recommends to the cordial support of the Democracy of the 

Van Buren's defeat practically closed his career. His fail- 
ure of re-election in 1840 had left his leadership unimpaired, 
but with the loss of the nomination in 1844 went prestige and 
power which he was never to regain. Seldom has it been the 
misfortune of a candidate for President to experience so over- 
whelming an overthrow. Clay's failure in 1839 and Seward's 
in 1860 were as complete; but they lacked the humiliating 
features of the Baltimore rout. Harrison was an equal fa- 
vourite with Clay in 18.39 ; and at Chicago, in 1860, Lincoln 
shared with Seward the prominence of a leading candidate ; 
but at Baltimore, in 1844, no other name than Van Buren's 
appeared conspicuously above the surface, until, with the 
help of delegates who had been instructed for him, the two- 
thirds rule was adopted. It seemed to Van Buren the result 
of political treachery; and it opened a chasm between him 
and his former southern friends that was destined to survive 


during the remaining eighteen years of his life. The proscrip- 
tion of his New York friends undoubtedly aided this division, 
and the death of Jackson, in 1845, and rapidly accumulating 
political events which came to a climax in 1848, completed 
the separation. 

There are evidences that Van Buren's defeat did not break 
the heart of his party in New York. Contemporary writers 
intimate that after his election as President the warm, fa- 
miliar manners changed to the stiffer and more formal ways 
of polite etiquette, and that his visit to New York, during 
his occupancy of the White House, left behind it many 
wounds, the result of real or fancied slights and neglect. Van 
Buren's rule had been long. His good pleasure sent men to 
Congress; his good pleasure made them postmasters, legis- 
lators, and cabinet oflScers. In all departments of the gov 
€rnment, both state and national, his influence had been enor- 
mous. For years his friends, sharing the glory and profits 
of his continued triumphs, had been filling other ambitious 
men with envy and jealousy, until his overthrow seemed nec- 
essary to their success. Even Edwin Croswell shared this 
feeling, and, although he did not boldly play a double part, 
the astute editor was always seeking a position which prom- 
ised the highest advantage and the greatest security to him- 
self and his faction. This condition of mind made him quick 
to favour Polk and the annexation of Texas, and to leave 
Van Buren to his now limited coterie of followers. 

Van Buren had much liking for the career of a public man. 
Very probably he found his greatest happiness in the tri- 
umphs of such a life; but we must believe he also found 
great contentment in his retirement at Lindenwald. He did 
not possess the tastes and pleasures of a man of letters, nor 
did he affect the "classic retirement" that seemed to appeal 
so powerfully to men of the eighteenth century; but, like 
John Jay, he loved the country, happy in his health, in his 
rustic tastes, in his freedom from public cares, and in his 
tranquil occupation. Skilled in horticulture, he took pleas- 
ure in planting trees, and in cultivating, with his own hand, 


the fruits and flowers of his table. There can be no doubt of 
his entire sincerity when he assured an enthusiastic Penn- 
sylvania admirer, who had pronounced for him as a candi- 
date in 1848, that whatever aspirations he may have had in 
the past, he now had no desire to be President. 



The New York delegation, returning from the Baltimore 
convention, found the Democratic party rent in twain over 
the gubernatorial situation. So long as Van Buren seemed 
likely to be the candidate for President, opposition to Gover- 
nor Bouck's renomination was smothered by the desire of the 
Radicals to unite with the Conservatives, and thus make sure 
of the State's electoral vote. This was the Van Buren plan. 
After the latter's defeat, however, the Radicals demanded 
the nomination of Silas Wright of Canton. Van Buren and 
Wright had taken no part in the canal controversy ; but they 
belonged to the Radicals, and, with Wright, and with no one 
else, could the latter hope to defeat the "Agricultural Gov- 
ernor." Their importunity greatly distressed the Canton 
statesman, who desired to remain in the United States Sen- 
ate, to which he had been recently re-elected for a third term, 
and to whom, from every point of view, the governorship was 
distasteful.^ Besides taking him from the Senate, it meant 

' "Next to the Presidency no place was so much desired, in the 
times we are now reviewing, as that of senator of the United States. 
The body was illustrious through the fame of its members, who 
generally exhibited the very flower and highest outcome of Ameri- 
can political life; dignified, powerful, respected, it was the pride 
of the nation, and one of its main bulwarks. The height of ordi- 
nary ambition was satisfied by attainment to that place; and 
men once securely seated there would have been content to hold it 
on and on, asking no more. One cannot doubt the sincerity of 
the expressions in which Mr. Wright announced his distress at be- 
ing thrown from that delightful eminence into the whirlpools and 
quicksands at Albany." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John Dix, Vol. 
1, pp. 194, 195. 



contention with two bitterly jealous and hostile factions, one 
of which would be displeased with impartiality, the other 
ready to plunge the party into a fierce feud on the slightest 
show of partiality. Therefore, he firmly declined to be a 

But the Albany Atlas, representing the Radicals, insisted 
upon Wright's making the sacrifice; and, to give Bouck an 
easy avenue of escape, Edwin Croswell, representing the Con- 
servatives, advised that the Governor would withdraw if he 
should consent to stand. But he again refused. Still 
the Atlas continued to insist. By the middle of July things 
looked very black. In Albany, the atmosphere became thick 
with political passion. Finally, Van Buren interfered. He 
was profoundly affected with the idea that political treach- 
ery had compassed his defeat, and he knew the nomination 
of Polk was personally offensive to Silas Wright ; but, faith- 
ful to his promise to support the action of the Baltimore 
convention, he requested his friend to lead the state ticket, 
since the result in New York would probably decide, as it did 
decide, the fate of the Democratic party in the nation. Still 
the Senator refused. His decision, more critical than he 
seemed to be aware, compelled his Radical friends to invent 
new compromises, until the refusal was modified into a con- 
ditional consent. In other words, he would accept the nomi- 
nation provided he was not placed in the position of opposing 
"any Republican who is, or who may become a candidate." 

This action of the Radicals kept the Conservatives busy 
bailing a sinking boat. They believed the candidacy of Bouck 
would shut out Wright under the terms of his letter, and, 
although the Governor's supporters were daily detached by 
the action of county conventions, and the Governor himself 
wished to withdraw to avoid the humiliation of a defeat by 
ballot, the Conservatives continued their opposition. For 
once it could be truthfully said of a candidate that he was 
"in the hands of his friends." Even the "judicious" dele- 
gate, whom the Governor directed to withdraw his name, 
declined executing the commission until a ballot had nomi- 

-78 WEIGHT AlSro FILLMORE [Chap. vn. 

nated Wright, giving him ninety-five votes to thirty for 
Bouck. ''Wright's nomination is the fatality," wrote Sevir- 
ard. "Election or defeat exhausts him."^ Seward had the 
gift oC prophecy. 

The bitterness of the contest was further revealed in the 
refusal of Daniel S. Dickinson, a doughty Conservative, to 
accept a renomination for lieutenant-governor, notwith- 
standing Silas Wright had especially asked it. There were 
many surmises, everybody was excited, and the door to har- 
mony seemed closed forever; but it opened again when the 
name of Addison Gardiner of Rochester came up. Gardiner 
had been guided by high ideals. He was kind and tolerant ; 
the voice of personal anger was never heard from his lips; 
and Conservative and Radical held him in high respect. At 
Manlius, in 1821, Gardiner had become the closest friend of 
Thurlow Weed, an intimacy that was severed only by death. 
He was a young lawyer then, anxious to seek his fortune in 
the West, and on his way to Indianapolis happened to stop 
at Rochester. The place proved too attractive to give up, 
and, through his influence. Weed also made it his residence. 
'How curious it seems," he once wrote his distinguished 
journalistic friend, "that circumstances which we regard at 
the time as scarcely worthy of notice often change the entire 
current of our lives." A few years later, through Weed's in- 
fluence, Gardiner became a judge of the Supreme Court, lay- 
ing the foundation for a public life of honourable and almost 
unceasing activity. 
Though the Whigs needed their ablest and most popular 

'F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 723. 

"Wrig"ht was a strong man the day before his nomination for 
gtjvernor. He fell far, and if left alone will be not, what he might 
hnve been, George I. to William of Orange, lineal heir to Jackson, 
through Van Buren. The wiseacres in New York speak of him with 
compliment, 'this distinguished statesman;' yet they bring all 
their small artillery to bear upon him, and give notice that he is 
demolished. The praise they bestow is very ill concealed, but less 
injurious to us than their warfare, conducted in their mode." — 
Letter of W. H. Seward to Thurlow Weed, lUd., Vol. 1, p. 725. 


men to meet Wright and Gardiner, preceding events guided 
the action of their state convention, which met at Syracuse, 
on the 11th of September, 1844. Horace Greeley had picked 
out Millard Fillmore for the Vice Presidency on the ticket 
with Henry Clay, and his New York friends, proud of his 
work in Congress, as chairman of the Committee on Ways 
and Means, presented his name with the hope that other 
States, profiting by the tarifE which he had framed, might 
join them in recognising his valuable public service. 
But the convention had not taken kindly to him, probably for 
the same reason that Greeley desired his promotion; for, 
upon the slavery question, Fillmore had been more pro- 
nounced and aggressive than Seward, sympathising and act- 
ing in Congress with Giddings of Ohio and John P. Hale of 
New Hampshire, a part very difficult to perform in those 
days without losing caste as a Whig. 

Fillmore's defeat on May 1, however, made him the candi- 
date for governor on September 11. Weed pronounced for 
him very early, and the party leaders fell into line with a 
unanimity that must have been as balm to Fillmore's sores. 
"I wish to say to you," wrote George W. Patterson to Weed, 
"that you are right, as usual, on the question of governor. 
After Frelinghuysen was named for Vice President, it struck 
me that Fillmore above all others was the man. You may 
rest assured that he will help Mr. Clay to a large number of 
good men's votes. Mr. Clay's slaves and his old duel would 
have hurt him with some men who will now vote the ticket. 
Fillmore is a favourite everywhere; and among the Metho- 
dists where 'old Father Fillmore' is almost worshipped, they 
will go him with a rush."* Yet the Buffalo statesman, not a 
little disgruntled over his treatment at Baltimore, disclaimed 
any desire for the nomination. To add to his chagrin, he was 
told that Weed and Seward urged his selection for his de- 
struction, and whether he believed the tale or not, it in- 
creased his fear and apprehension. But people did not take 
his assumed indifference seriously, and he was unanimously 
' Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlovc Weed, Vol. 2, p. 121. 


nominated for governor, with Samuel J. Wilkin, of Orange, 
for lieutenant-governor. Wilkin had been a leader of the 
Adams party in the Assembly of 1824 and 1825. He was then 
a young lawyer of much promise, able and clear-headed, and, 
although never a showy debater, he possessed useful business 
talent, and an integrity that gave him high place among the 
men who guided his party. "I like Wilkin for lieutenant- 
governor," wrote Seward, although he had been partial to 
the selection of John A. King. 

Without doubt, each party had put forward, for governor, 
its most available man. Fillmore was well known and at the 
height of his popularity. During the protracted and exciting 
tariff struggle of 1842, he had sustained himself as chairman 
of the Ways and Means Committee with marked ability. It 
added to his popularity, too, that he had seemed indifferent 
to the nomination. In some respects Fillmore and Silas 
Wright were not unlike. They were distinguished for their 
suavity of manners. Both were impressive and interesting 
characters, wise in council, and able in debate, with a large 
knowledge of their State and country ; and, although belong- 
ing to opposite parties and in different wings of the capitol 
at Washington, their service in Congress had brought to the 
debates a genius which compelled attention, and a purity of 
life that raised in the public estimation the whole level of 
congressional proceedings. Neither was an orator ; they were 
clear, forcible, and logical; but their speeches were not 
quoted as models of eloquence. In spite of an unpleasant 
voice and a slow, measured utterance, there was a charm 
about Wright's speaking ; for, like Fillmore, he had earnest- 
ness and warmth. With all their power, however, they 
lacked the enthusiasm and the boldness that captivate the 
crowd and inspire majorities. Yet they had led majorities. 
In no sphere of Wright's activities, was he more strenuous 
than in the contest for the independent treasury plan which 
he recommended to Van Buren, and which, largely through 
his efforts as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, 
was finally forced into law on the 4th of July, 1840. Fill- 


more, in putting some of the hated taxes of 1828 into the 
tariff act of 1842, was no less strenuous, grappling facts with 
infinite labour, until, at last, he overcame a current of public 
opinion that seemed far too powerful for resistance. 

Of the two men, Silas Wright was undoubtedly 
the stronger character. He was five years older than Fill- 
more, and his legislative experience had been four or five 
years longer. His great intellectual power peculiarly fitted 
him for the United States Senate. He had chosen finance as 
his specialty, and in its discussion had made a mark. He 
could give high and grave counsel in great emergencies. His 
inexhaustible patience, his active attention and industry, his 
genius in overcoming impediments of every kind, made him 
the peer of the ablest senator. He was not without ambitions 
for himself ; but they were always subordinate in him to the 
love of party and friends. It will never be known how far 
he influenced Van Buren's reply to Hammit. He bitterly op- 
posed the annexation of Texas, and his conferences with the 
ex-President must have encouraged the latter's adherence to 
his former position. Van Buren's defeat, however, in no wise 
changed Wright's attitude toward him. It is doubtful if the 
latter could have been nominated President at Baltimore had 
he allowed the use of his name, but it was greatly to his 
credit, showing the sincerity of his friendship for Van 
Buren, that he spurned the suggestion and promptly declined 
a unanimous nomination for Vice President. Such action 
places him in a very small group of American statesmen who 
have deliberately turned their backs upon high office rather 
than be untrue to friends. 

Silas Wright was strictly a party man. He came near 
subjecting every measure and every movement in his career 
to the test of party loyalty. He started out in that way, and 
he kept it up until the end. In 1823 he sincerely favoured 
the choice of presidential electors by the people, but, for the 
party's sake, he aided in defeating the measure. Two years 
later, he preferred that the State be unrepresented in the 
United States Senate rather than permit the election of Am- 


brose Spencer, then the nominee of a Clintonian majority, 
and he used all his skill to defeat a joint session of the two 
houses. For the sake of party he now accepted the guberna- 
torial nomination. Desire to remain in the Senate, opposi- 
tion to the annexation of Texas, dislike of participating in 
factional feuds, refusal to stand in the way of Bouck's nomi- 
nation, the dictates of his better judgment, all gave way to 
party necessity. He anticipated defeat for a second term 
should he now be elected to a first, but it had no influence. 
The party needed him, and, whatever the result to himself, 
he met it without complaint. This was the man upon whom 
the Democrats relied to carry New York and to elect Polk. 

There were other parties in the field. The Native Ameri- 
cans, organised early in 1844, watched the situation with pe- 
culiar emotions. This party had suddenly sprung up in op- 
position to the ease with which foreigners secured suffrage 
and ofiBce; and, although it shrewdly avoided nominations 
for governor and President, it demoralised both parties by 
the strange and tortuous manoeuvres that had ended in the 
election of a mayor of New York in the preceding spring. It 
operated, for the most part, in that city, but its sympathisers 
covered the whole State. Then, there was the anti-rent 
party, confined to Delaware and three or four adjoining 
counties, where long leases and trifling provisions of forfeit- 
ure had exasperated tenants into acts of violence. Like the 
Native Americans, these Anti-Kenters avoided state and na- 
tional nominations, and traded their votes to secure the elec- 
tion of legislative nominees. 

But the organisation which threatened calamity was the 
abolition or liberty party. It had nominated James G. Bir- 
ney of Michigan for President and Alvan Stewart for gover- 
nor, and, though no one expected the election of either, the 
organisation was not unlikely to hold the balance of power 
in the State. Stewart was a born Abolitionist and a lawyer 
of decided ability. In the section of the State bounded by 
Oneida and Otsego counties, where he shone conspicuously 
as a leader for a quarter of a century, his forensic achieve- 


ments are still remembered. Stanton says he had no supe- 
rior in central New York. "His quaint humour was equal to 
his profound learning. He was skilled in a peculiar and in- 
describable kind of argumentation, wit, and sarcasm, that 
made him remarkably successful out of court as well as in 
court. Before anti-slavery conventions in several States he 
argued grave and intricate constitutional questions with con- 
summate ability."* 

It was evident that the Anti-Renters and Native Americans 
would draw, perhaps, equally from Whigs and Democrats; 
but the ranks of Abolitionists could be recruited only from 
the anti-slavery Whigs. Behind Stewart stood Gerrit Smith, 
William Jay, Beriah Green, and other zealous, able, benevo- 
lent, pure-minded men — some of them wealthy. Their shibbo- 
leth was hostility to a slave-holder, or one who would vote 
for a slave-holder. This barred Henry Clay and his electors. 
At the outset the Whigs plainly had the advantage. 
Spring elections had resulted auspiciously, and the popular- 
ity of Clay seemed unfailing. He had avowed opposition to 
the annexation of Texas, and, although his letter was not 
based upon hostility to slavery and the slave trade, it was 
positive, highly patriotic, and in a measure satisfactory to 
the anti-slavery Wigs. "We are at the flood," Seward wrote 
Weed; "our opponents at the ebb."° The nomination of 
Wright had greatly strengthened the Democratic ticket, but 
the nomination of Polk, backed by the Texas resolution, 
weighted the party as with a ball and chain. Edwin Croswell 
had characterised Van Buren's letter to Hammit as "a states- 
man-like production," declaring that "every American 
reader, not entirely under the dominion of prejudice, will ad- 
mit the force of his conclusions."* This was the view gener- 
ally held by the party throughout the State; yet, within a 
month, every American reader who wished to remain loyal to 

* H. B. Stanton, Random Recolleetions, p. 135. 
' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 699. 
° Jabez D. Hammond, Political Eistory of New York, Vol. 3, p. 441, 


the Democratic party was compelled to change his mind. In 
making this change, the "slippery-elm editor," as Croswell 
came to be known because of the nearness of his oflBce to the 
old elm tree corner in Albany, led the way and the party fol- 
lowed. It was a rough road for many who knew they were 
consigning to one grave all hope of ending the slavery agita- 
tion, while they were resurrecting from another, bitter and 
dangerous controversies that had been laid to rest by the Mis- 
souri Compromise. Yet only one poor little protest, and that 
intended for private circulation, was heard in opposition, the 
signers, among them William Cullen Bryant, declaring their 
intention to vote for Polk, but to repudiate any candidate for 
Congress who agreed with Polk. Bryant's purpose was pal- 
pable and undoubted ; but it soon afterward became part of 
his courage not to muffle plain truth from any spurious no- 
tions of party loyalty, and part of his glory not to fail to 
tell what people could not fail to see. 

As the campaign advanced, the Whig side of it resembled 
the contest of 1S40. The log cabin did not reappear, and the 
drum and cannon were less noisy, but ash poles, cut from 
huge trees and spliced one to another, carried high the ban- 
uer of the statesman from Ashland. Campaign songs, with 
choruses for "Harry of the West," emulated those of "Old 
Tip," and parades by day and torchlight processions by 
night, increased the enthusiasm. The Whigs, deeply and per- 
sonally attached to Henry Clay, made mass-meetings as com- 
mon and nearly as large as those held four years before. Sew- 
ard speaks of fifteen thousand men gathered at midday in 
Utica to hear Erastus Root, and of a thousand unable to en- 
ter the hall at night while he addressed a thousand more 
within. Fillmore expressed the fear that Whigs would mis- 
take these great meetings for the election, and omit the nec- 
essary arrangements to get the vote out. "I am tired of mass- 
meetings," wrote Seward. "But they will go on."'' 

Seward and Weed were not happy during this campaign. 
The friends of Clay, incensed at his defeat in 1840, had pro- 
' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 723. 


nounced them the chief conspirators. Murmurs had been 
muflBed until after Tyler's betrayal of the party and Seward's 
retirement, but when these sources of possible favours ran 
dry, the voice of noisy detraction reached Albany and Au- 
burn. It was not an ordinary scold, confined to a few con- 
servatives; but the censure of strong language, filled with 
Tindictiveness, charged Weed with revolutionary theories, 
tending to unsettle the rights of property, and Seward with 
abolition notions and a desire to win the Irish Catholic vote 
for selfish purposes. In February, 1844, it was not very po- 
litely hinted to Seward that he go abroad during the cam- 
paign ; and by June, Weed talked despondingly, proposing to 
leave the Journal. Seward had the spirit of the Greeks. "If 
you resign," he said, "there will be no hope left for ten thou- 
sand men who hold on because of their confidence in you and 
me."' In another month Weed had become the proprietor 
as well as the editor of the Evening Journal. 

As the campaign grew older, however. Clay's friends gladly 
availed themselves of Seward's influence with anti-slavery 
Whigs and naturalised citizens. "It is wonderful what an 
impulse the nomination of Polk has given to the abolition 
sentiment," wrote Seward. "It has already expelled other 

' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 719. 

" I think you cannot leave the Journal without giving up the whole 
army to dissension and overthrow. I agree that if, by remaining, 
you save it, you only draw down double denunciation upon your- 
self and me. Nor do I see the way through and beyond that. But 
there will be some way through. I grant, then, that, for yourself 
and me, it is wise and pro^ table that you leave. I must be left 
without the possibility of restoration, without a defender, without 
an organ. Nothing else will satisfy those who think they are 
shaded. Then, and not until then, shall I have passed through the 
not unreasonable punishment for too much success. But the party 
— the country? They cannot bear your withdrawal. I think I 
am not mistaken in this. Let us adhere, then. Stand fast. It is 
neither wise nor reasonable that we should bear the censure of 
defeat, when we have been deprived of not merely command, but of 
a voice in council." — W. H. Seward to Thurlow Weed, lUd., Vol. 1, p. 

86 WEIGHT AND FILLMOEE [Cijap. ^tt. 

issues from the public mind. Our Whig central committee, 
who, a year ago, voted me out of the party for being an Aboli- 
tionist, has made abolition the war-cry in their call for a 
mass-meeting."^ Even the sleuth-hounds of No-popery were 
glad to invite Seward to address the naturalised voters, 
whose hostility to the Whigs, in 1844, resembled their dislike 
of the Federalists in 1800. "It is a sorry consolation for 
this ominous aspect of things," he wrote Weed, "that you and 
I are personally exempt from the hostility of this class to- 
ward our political associates."^" 

Yet no man toiled more sedulously in this campaign than 
Seward. "Harrison had his admirers, Clay his lovers," is 
the old way of putting it. To elect him, Whigs were ready to 
make any sacrifice, to endure any hardship, and to yield 
every prejudice. Fillmore was ubiquitous, delivering tariff 
and anti-Texas speeches that filled all mouths with praise 
and all hearts with principle, as Seward expressed it. An 
evident desire existed on the part of many in both parties, to 
avoid a discussion of the annexation of Texas, and its conse- 
quent extension of slavery, lest too much or too little be said ; 
but leaders like Seward and Fillmore were too wise to be- 
lieve that they could fool the people by concealing the real 
issue. "Texas and slavery are at war with the interests, the 
principles, the sympathies of all," boldly declared the un- 
muzzled Auburn statesman. "The integrity of the Union de- 
pends on the result. To increase the slave-holding power is to 
•subvert the Constitution; to give a fearful preponderance 
which may, and probably will, be speedily followed by de- 
mands to which the Democratic free-labour States cannot 
yield, and the denial of which will be made the ground of 
secession, nullification and disunion."'^^ This was another of 
Seward's famous prophecies. At the time it seemed extrava- 
gant, even to the strongest anti-slavery Whigs, but the future 
verified it. 

» F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol 1, p. 718. 
" IMd., p. 723. 
"76t(/., p. 727. 


The Whigs, however, did not, as in 1840, have a monopoly 
of the enthusiasm. The public only half apprehended, or re- 
fused to apprehend at all, the danger in the Texas scheme; 
and, after the first chill of their immersion, the Democrats 
rallied with confidence to the support of their ticket. Abun- 
dant evidence of their strength had manifested itself at each 
state election since 1841, and, although no trailing cloud of 
glory now testified to a thrifty and skilful management, as 
in 1836, the two factions, in spite of recent efforts to baffle 
and defeat each other, pulled themselves together with amaz- 
ing quickness. Indeed, if we may rely upon Whig letters of 
the time, the Democrats exhibited the more zeal and spirit 
throughout the campaign. They had their banners, their 
songs, and their processions. In place of ash, they raised 
hickory poles, and instead of defending Polk, they attacked 
Clay. Other candidates attracted little attention. Clay was 
the commanding, central figure, and over him the battle 
raged. There were two reasons for this. One was the fear of 
a silent free-soil vote, which the Bryant circular had 
alarmed in his favour. The other was a desire to strengthen 
the liberty party, and to weaken the Whigs by holding up 
Clay as a slave-holder. The corner-stone of that party was 
hostility to the slave-holder; and if a candidate, however 
much he opposed slavery, owned a single slave, it excluded 
him from its suffrage. This was the weak point in Clay's 
armour, and the one of most peril to the Whigs. To meet it, 
the latter argued, with some show of success, that the con- 
flict is not with one slave-holder, or with many, but with 
slavery; and since the admission of Texas meant the exten- 
sion of that institution, a vote for Clay, who once advocated 
emancipation in Kentucky and is now strongly opposed to 
Texas, is a vote in behalf of freedom. 

In September, Whig enthusiasm underwent a marked de- 
cline. Clay's July letter to his Alabama correspondent, as 
historic now as it was superfluous and provoking then, 
had been published, in which he expressed a wish to see 
Texas added to the Union "upon just and fair terms." 


and hazarded the opinion that "the subject of slavery ought 
not to affect the question one way or the other.'"^ 
This letter was the prototype of the famous allitera- 
tion, "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion," in the Blaine 
campaign of 1884. Immediately Clay's most active 
anti-slavery supporters were in revolt. "We had the 
Abolitionists in a good way," wrote Washington Hunt from 
Lockport; "but Mr. Clay seems determined that they shall 
not be allowed to vote for him. I believe his letter will lose 
us more than two hundred votes in this county."" The ef- 
fects of the dreadful blow are as briefly summed up by Sew- 
ard : "I met that letter at Geneva, and thence here, and now 
everybody droops, despairs. It jeopards, perhaps loses, the 
State."" A few weeks later, in company with several friends, 
Seward, as was his custom, made an estimate of majorities, 
going over the work several times and taking accurate ac- 
count of the drift of public sentiment. An addition of the 
columns showed the Democrats several thousands ahead. 
Singularly enough, Fillmore, whose accustomed despondency 
exhibited itself even in 1840, now became confident of suc- 
cess. This can be accounted for, perhaps, on the theory that 
to a candidate the eve of an election is "dim with the self- 
deceiving twilight of sophistry." He believed in his own 
safety even if Clay failed. Although the deep, burning issue 
of slavery had not yet roused popular forces into dangerous 
excitement, Fillmore had followed the lead of Giddings and 
Hale, sympathising deeply with the restless flame that 
eventually guided the policy of the North with such admir- 
able effect. On the other hand, Wright approved his party's 
doctrine of non-interference with slavery. He had uniformly 
voted to table petitions for the abolition of slavery in the 
District of Columbia, declaring that any interference with 
the system, in that district, or in the territories, endangered 

" Private letter, Henry Clay to Stephen Miller, Tuscaloosa, Ala, 
July 1, 1844. 
" Thurlow Weed Bames, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 123. 
" F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 724. 


the rights of their citizens, and would be a violation of faith 
toward those who had settled and held slaves there. He voted 
for the admission of Arkansas and Florida as slave States ; 
and his opposition to Texas was based wholly upon reasons 
other than the extension of slavery. The Abolitionists under- 
stood this, and Fillmore confidently relied upon their aid, 
although they might vote for Birney instead of Clay. 

That Seward rightly divined public sentiment was shown 
by the result. Polk carried the State by a plurality of little 
more than five thousand, and Wright by ten thousand, while 
Stewart polled over fifteen thousand votes." These last fig- 
ures told the story. Four years before, Birney had received 
less than seven thousand votes in the whole country; now, 
in New York, the Abolitionists, exceeding their own anticipa- 
tions, held the balance of power.^^ Had their votes been 
cast for Clay and Fillmore*both would have carried New 
York, and Clay would have become the Chief Executive. 
"Until Mr. Clay wrote his letter to Alabama," said Thurlow 
Weed, dispassionately, two years afterward, "his election as 
President was certain."^' 

Clay's defeat was received by his devoted followers as the 
knell of their hopes. For years they had been engaged labour- 
ously in rolling uphill the stone of Sisyphus, making active 
friendships and seeking a fair trial. That opportunity had 
come at last. It had been an affair of life or death ; the con- 
test was protracted, intense, dramatic ; the issue for a time 
had hung in poignant doubt; but the dismal result let the 
stone roll down again to the bottom of the hill. No wonder 
stout men cried, and that thousands declared the loss of all 
further interest in politics. To add to their despair and re- 
sentment, the party of Birney and Stewart exulted over its 
victory not less than the party of Polk and Silas Wright. 

"Silas Wright, 241,090; Millard Fillmore, 231,057; Alvan Stewart, 
15,136.— Cml List, State of New Tork (1887), p. 166. 

"In 1840 Gerrit Smith received 2662; in 1842 Alvan Stewart polled 
7263.— 76id., p. 166. 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 1, p. 572. 



Although the Democrats were again successful in elect- 
ing a governor and President, their victory had not healed 
the disastrous schism that divided the party. The rank and 
file throughout the State had not yet recognised the division 
into Radicals and Conservatives; but the members of the 
new Legislature foresaw, in the rivalries of leaders, the ap- 
proach of a marked crisis, the outcome of which they awaited 
with an overshadowing sense of fear. 

The strife of programmes began in the selection of a 
speaker. Horatio Seymour was the logical candidate. Of 
the Democratic members of the last Assembly, he was the 
only one returned. He had earned the preferment by able 
service, and a disposition obtained generally among members 
to give him the right of way ; but the state ofiScials had not 
forgotten and could not forget that Seymour, whose supple 
and trenchant blade had opened a way through the ranks of 
the Radicals for the passage of the last canal appropriation, 
had further sinned by marshalling Governor Bouck's forces 
at the Syracuse convention on September 4, 1844; and to 
teach him discretion and less independence, they promptly 
warned him of their opposition by supporting William C. 
Grain of Herkimer, a fierce Radical of the Hoffman school 
and a man of some ability. Though the ultimate decision 
favoured Seymour, Azariah C. Flagg, the state comptroller, 
resolutely exhausted every device of strategy and tactics to 
avert it. He summoned the canal board, who, in turn, sum- 
moned to Albany their up-state employees, mindful of the 
latter's influence with the unsophisticated legislators already 



haunted by the fear of party disruption. To limit the issue, 
Governor Wright was quoted as favourable to Grain, and, 
although it subsequently became known that he had ex- 
pressed no opinion save one of entire indifference, this 
added to the zeal of the up-state Radicals, who now showed 
compliance with every hint of their masters. 

In the midst of all Horatio Seymour remained undaunted. 
No one had better poise, or firmer patience, or possessed 
more adroit methods. The personal attractions of the man, 
his dignity of manner, his finished culture, and his ability 
to speak often in debate with acceptance, had before at- 
tracted men to him; now he was to reveal the new and 
greater power of leadership. Seymour's real strength as a 
factor in state affairs seems to date from this contest. It is 
doubtful if he would have undertaken it had he suspected 
the fierceness of the opposition. He was not ambitious to be 
speaker. So far as it affected him personally, he had every 
motive to induce him to remain on the floor, where his elo- 
quence and debating power had won him such a place. But, 
once having announced his candidacy he pushed on with en- 
ergy, sometimes masking his movements, sometimes mining 
and countermining ; yet always conscious of the closeness of 
the race and of the necessity of keeping his activity well 
spiced with good nature. Back of him stood Edwin Cros- 
well. The astute editor of the Argus recognised in Horatio 
Seymour, so brilliant in battle, so strong in council, the fu- 
ture hope of the Democratic party. It is likely, too, that 
Croswell already foresaw that Van Buren's opposition to the 
annexation of Texas, and the growing Free-soil sentiment, 
must inevitably occasion new party alignments ; and the vet- 
eran journalist, who had now been a party leader for nearly 
a quarter of a century, understood the necessity of having 
available and successful men ready for emergencies. Under 
his management, therefore, and to offset the influence of the 
canal board's employees, Conservative postmasters and Con- 
servative sheriffs came to Albany, challenging their Radical 
canal opponents to a measurement of strength. When, 

92 THE EISE OF JOHN YOUNG [Chap. vin. 

finally, the caucus acted, the result showed how closely di- 
vided were the factions. Of seventy Democrats in the Assem- 
bly, sixty-flve were present, and of these thirty-five voted for 

The irritation and excitement of this contest were in a 
measure allayed by an agreement to renominate Azariah C 
Flagg for comptroller of state. His ability and his service 
warranted it. He had performed the multiplying duties of 
the office with fidelity; and, although chief of the active 
Radicals, the recollection of his stalwart aid in the great 
financial panic of 1837, and in the preparation and advo- 
cacy of the act of 1842, gave him a support that no other 
candidate could command. It was also in the minds of two 
or three members holding the balance of power between the 
factions, to add to the harmony by securing an even division 
of the other four state offices. In carrying out their project, 
however, the gifted Croswell took good care that Samuel 
Young, whose zeal and ability especially endeared him to the 
Radicals, should be beaten for secretary of state by one vote, 
and that Thomas Farrington, another favourite Radical, 
should fail of re-election as treasurer of state. Since Young 
and Farrington were the only state officers, besides Flagg, 
seeking re-election, it looked as if their part in the speaker- 
ship struggle had marked them for defeat, a suspicion 
strengthened by the fact that two Radicals, who took no part 
in that contest, were elected attorney-general and surveyor- 

Reproachful ironies and bitter animosity, boding ill for 
future harmony, now followed the factions into a furious and 
protracted caucus for the selection of United States sena- 
tors in place of Silas Wright and Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, 
the latter having resigned to accept the governorship of Wis- 
consin.^ The Conservatives supported Daniel S. Dickinson 

' "On that occasion the feud between the two sections of the 
party was disclosed in all its intensity. The conflict, which was 
sharp and ended in the election of Daniel S. Dickinson for the six- 
years term, in spite of the strong- opposition of the Radical members 


and Henry A. Foster ; the Radicals John A. Dix and Michael 
Hoffman. There was more, however, at stake than the se- 
lection of two senators; for the President would probably 
choose a member of his Cabinet from the stronger faction; 
and to have time to recruit their strength, the programme 
of the Radicals included an adjournment of the caucus after 
nominating candidates for the unexpired terms of Wright 
and Tallmadge. This would possibly give them control of 
the full six years' term to begin on the 4th of the following 
March. A majority of the caucus, however, now completely 
under the influence of Edwin Croswell and Horatio Seymour, 
concluded to do one thing at a time, and on the first ballot 
Dix was nominated for Wright's place, giving him a term of 
four years. The second ballot named Dickinson for the re- 
maining month of Tallmadge's term. Then came the climax 
— the motion to adjourn. Instantly the air was thick with 
suggestions. Coaxing and bullying held the boards. All sorts 
of proposals came and vanished with the breath that floated 
them; and, though the hour approached midnight, a Con- 
servative majority insisted upon finishing the business. The 
election of Dix for a term of four years, they said, had given 
the Radicals fair representation. Still, the latter clamoured 
for an adjournment. But the Conservatives, inexorable, de- 
manded a third ballot, and it gave Dickinson flfty-four out 
of ninety-three members present. When the usual motion to 
make the nomination unanimous was bitterly opposed, Hora- 
tio Seymour took the floor, and with the moving charm and 
power of his voice, with temper unbroken, he made a fervid 
appeal for harmony. But bitterness ruled the midnight 
hour ; unanimity still lacked thirty-nine votes. As the Radi- 
cals passed out into the frosty air, breaking the stillness with 

of the caucus, -was a triumph for the Conservatives, and a defeat 
for the friends of Governor Wrig-ht. The closing years of the great 
statesman's life were overcast by shadows; adverse influences were 
evidently in the ascendant, not only at Washington, but close about 
him and at home." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. Dix, Vol. 1, 
p. 194. 

94 THE EISE OF JOHN YOUNG [Chap, viil 

their expletives, the voice of the tempter suggested a union 
with the Whigs for the election of Samuel Young. There was 
abundant precedent to support the plan. Bailey had bolted 
Woodworth's nomination ; German had defeated Thompson ; 
and, in 1820, Ruf us King had triumphed over Samuel Young. 
But these were the tactics of DeWitt Clinton. In 1845, the 
men who aspired to ofiBce, the men with a past and the men 
who looked for a future, had no words of approval for such 
methods ; and before the Whigs heard of the scheme, Samuel 
Young had stamped it to death. 

To add to the chagrin of the Radicals, President Polk now 
invited William L. Marcy, a Conservative of great prestige, 
to become secretary of war. The Radicals did not know, and 
perhaps could not know the exact condition of things at the 
national capital ; certainly they did not know how many ele- 
ments of that condition told against them. President Polk, 
apparently with a desire of treating his New Y'^ork friends 
fairly, asked Van Buren to recommend a New Yorker for his 
Cabinet ; and, with the approval of Silas Wright, the former 
President urged Benjamin F. Butler for secretary of state, 
or Azariah C. Flagg for secretary of the treasury. Either 
of these men would have filled the place designated with 
great ability. Polk was largely indebted to Van Buren and 
his friends ; Butler had given him the vote of New York, and 
Wright, by consenting to stand for governor at the urgent 
solicitation of Van Buren, had carried the State and thus 
made Democratic success possible. But Polk, more interested 
in future success than in the payment of past indebtedness, 
had an eye out for 1848. He wanted a man devoted solely to 
his interests and to the annexation of Texas; and, although 
Butler was a personal friend and an ornament to the Ameri- 
can bar, he hesitated, despite the insistence of Van Buren 
and Wright, to make a secretary of state out of the most 
devoted of Van Buren's adherents, who, like the sage of Lin- 
denwald himself, bitterly opposed annexation. 

In this emergency, the tactics of Edwin Croswell came to 
Polk's relief. The former knew that Silas Wright could not. 


if he would, accept a place in the Cabinet, since he had repeat- 
edly declared during the campaign that, if elected, he would 
not abandon the governorship to enter the Cabinet, as Van 
Buren did in 1829. Croswell knew, also, that Butler, having 
left the Cabinet of two Presidents to re-enter his profession, 
would not give it up for a secondary place among Polk's ad- 
visers. At the editor's suggestion, therefore, the President 
tendered Silas Wright the head of the treasury, and, upon 
his declination, an offer of the secretaryship of war came to 
Butler. The latter said he would have taken, although with 
reluctance, either the state or treasury department ; but the 
war portfolio carried him too far from the line of his profes- 
sion. Thus the veteran editor's scheme, having worked itself 
out as anticipated, left the President at liberty, without fur- 
ther consultation with Van Buren, to give William L. Marcy^ 
what Butler had refused. To the Radicals the result was as 
startling as it was unwelcome. It left the Conservatives in 
authority. Through Marcy they would command the federal 
patronage, and through their majority in the Legislature 
they could block the wheels of their opponents. It was at 
this time that the Conservatives, "hankering," it was said, 
after the oflSces to be given by an Administration committed 
to the annexation of Texas, were first called "Hunkers." 

John Young, a Whig member of the Assembly, no sooner 
scented the increasingly bitter feeling between Hunker and 
Radical than he prepared to take advantage of it. Young 
was a great surprise to the older leaders. He had accom- 
plished nothing in the past to entitle him to distinction. In 
youth he accompanied his father, a Vermont innkeeper, to 
Livingston County, where he received a common school edu- 
cation and studied law, being admitted to the bar in 1829, 
at the age of twenty-seven. Two years later he served a single 

' "On the great question that loomed threateningly on the horizon. 
Wright and Marcy took opposite sides. Wright moved calmly along 
■with the advancing liberal sentiment of the period, and died a 
firm advocate of the policy of the Wilmot Proviso. On this test 
measure Marcy took no step forward." — H. B. Stanton, Random 
Recollections, p. 40. 

96 THE EISE OF JOHN YOUNG [Chap. viii. 

term in the Assembly, and for ten years thereafter he had 
confined his attention almost exclusively to his profession, 
becoming a strong jury lawyer. In the meantime, he changed 
his politics from a firm supporter of Andrew Jackson to a 
local anti-masonic leader, and finally to a follower of Henry 
Clay. Then the Whigs sent him to Congress, and, in the fall 
of 1843, elected him to the celebrated Assembly through 
which Horatio Seymour forced the canal appropriation. 
But John Young seems to have made little more of a repu- 
tation in this historic struggle than he did as a colleague of 
Millard Fillmore in the Congress that passed the tarifE act of 
1842. He did not remain silent, but neither his words nor 
his acts conveyed any idea of the gifts which he was de- 
stined to disclose in the various movements of a drama that 
was now, day by day, through much confusion and bewilder- 
ment, approaching a climax. From a politician of local repu- 
tation, he leaped to the distinction of a state leader. If un- 
noticed before, he was now the observed of all observers. 
This transition, which came almost in a day, surprised the 
Democrats no less than it excited the Whigs; for Young 
lifted a minority into a majority, and from a hopeless defeat 
was destined to lead his party to glorious victory. "With 
talents of a high order," says Hammond, "with industry, 
with patient perseverance, and with a profound knowledge 
of men, he was one of the ablest party leaders and most skil- 
ful managers in a popular body that ever entered the As- 
sembly chamber."^ Hammond, writing while Young was 
governor, did not express the view of Thurlow Weed, who was 
unwilling to accept tact and cunning for great intellectual 
power. But there is no doubt that Young suddenly showed 
uncommon parliamentary ability, not only as a debater, ow- 
ing to his good voice and earnest, persuasive manner, but as 
a skilful strategist, who strengthened coolness, courtesy, and 
caution with a readiness to take advantage of the supreme 
moment to carry things his way. Within a month, he became 
an acknowledged master of parliamentary law, easily bring- 
' Jabez D. Hammond, Politieal History of New York, Vol. 3, p. 537. 


ing order out of confusion by a few simple, clear, compact 
sentences. If his learning did not rank him among the Sew- 
ards and the Seymours, he had no occasion to fear an antag- 
onist in the field on which he was now to win his leadership. 
The subject under consideration was the calling of a con- 
stitutional convention. The preceding Legislature, hoping 
to avoid a convention, had proposed several amendments 
which the people approved in the election of 1844; but the 
failure of the present Legislature to ratify them by a two- 
thirds majority, made a convention inevitable, and the ques- 
tion now turned upon the manner of its calling and the ap- 
proval of its work. The Hunkers, with the support of the 
Governor, desired first to submit the matter to the people; 
and, if carried by a majority vote, taking as a test the num- 
ber of votes polled at the last election, the amendments were 
to be acted upon separately. This was the plan of Governor 
Clinton in 1821. On the other hand, the Whigs, the Anti- 
Eenters, and the Native Americans insisted that the Legisla- 
ture call a convention, and that its work be submitted, as a 
whole, to the people, as in 1821. This the Hunkers resisted 
to the bitter end. An obstacle suddenly appeared, also, in 
the conduct of William C. Grain, who thought an early and 
unlimited convention necessary. Michael Hoffman held the 
same view, believing it the only method of getting the act of 
1842 incorporated into the organic law of the State. Upon 
the latter's advice, therefore. Grain introduced a bill in the 
Assembly similar to the convention act of 1821. It was 
charged, at the time, that Grain's action was due to resent- 
ment because of his defeat for speaker, and that the Governor, 
in filling the vacancy occasioned by the transfer of Samuel 
Nelson to the Supreme Court of the United States, had added 
to his indignation by overlooking the claims of Michael Hoff- 
man. It is not improbable that Grain, irritated by his de- 
feat, did resent the action of the Governor, although it was 
well known that Hoflfman had not sought a place on the Su- 
preme bench. But, in preferring an unlimited constitutional 
convention, Grain and Hoffman expressed the belief of the 


most eminent lawyers of the Commonwealth, that the time 
had come for radical changes in the Constitution, and that 
these conld not be obtained unless the work of a convention 
was submitted in its entirety to the people and approved by 
a majority vote. 

Crain's bill was quickly pigeon-holed by the select com- 
mittee to which it was referred, and John Young's work 
began when he determined to have it reported. There had 
been little difficulty in marshalling a third of the Assembly 
to defeat the constitutional amendments proposed by the 
preceding Legislature, since Whigs, Anti-Renters, and Native 
Americans numbered fifty-four of the one hundred and twen- 
ty-eight members ; but, to overcome a majority of seventeen, 
required Young's patient attendance, day after day, watchful 
for an opportuntiy to make a motion whenever the Hunkers, 
ignorant of his design, were reduced by temporary absences 
to an equality with the minority. Finally, the sought-for 
moment came, and, with Crain's help, Young carried a mo- 
tion instructing the committee to report the Crain bill with- 
out amendment, and making it the special order for each day 
until disposed of. It was a staggering blow. The air was 
thick with suggestions, contrivances, expedients, and em- 
bryonic proposals. The Governor, finding Crain inexorable, 
sent for Michael Hoffman; but the ablest Radical in the 
State refused to intervene, knowing that if the programme 
proposed by Wright was sustained, the Whigs would with- 
draw their support and leave the Hunkers in control. 

When the debate opened, interest centred in the course 
taken by the Radicals, who accepted the principle of the bill, 
but who demurred upon details and dreaded to divide their 
party. To this controlling group, therefore, were arguments 
addressed and appeals made. Hammond pronounced it "one 
of the best, if not the best, specimens of parliamentary dis- 
cussion ever exhibited in the capital of the State."* Other 
writers have recorded similar opinions. It was certainly a 
memorable debate, but it was made so by the serious political 

* Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of Neic York, Vol. 3, p. 544. 


situation, rather than by the importance of the subject. Ho- 
ratio Seymour led his party, and, though other Hunkers par- 
ticipated with credit, upon the Speaker fell the brunt of the 
fight. He dispensed with declamation, he avoided bitter 
words, he refused to crack the party whip ; but with a deep, 
onflowing volume of argument and exhortation, his animated 
expressions, modulated and well balanced, stirred the emo- 
tions and commanded the closest attention. Seymour had an 
instinct "for the hinge or turning point of a debate." He 
had, also, a never failing sense of the propriety, dignity, and 
moderation with which subjects should be handled, or "the 
great endearment of prudent and temperate speech" as 
Jeremy Taylor calls it; and, although he could face the 
fiercest opposition with the keenest blade, his utterances, 
rarely left a sting or subjected him to criticism. This gift 
was one secret of his great popularity, and daily rumours 
I)redicted harmony before a vote could be reached. As the 
stormy scenes which marked the progress of the bill contin- 
ued, however, the less gifted Hunkers did not hesitate to de- 
clare the party dissolved unless the erring Radicals fell into 

John Young, who knew the giant burden he had taken up, 
showed himself acute, frank, patient, closely attentive, and 
possessed of remarkable powers of speech. Every word sur- 
prised his followers ; every stroke strengthened his position. 
He did not speak often, but he always answered Seymour, 
presenting a fine and sustained example of debate, keeping 
within strict rules of combat, and preserving a rational and 
argumentative tone, yet emphasising the differences between 
Hunker and Radical. Y^oung could not be called brilliant, 
nor did he have the capacity or finish of Seymour as an 
orator ; but he formed his own opinions, usually with great 
sagacity, and acted with vigour and skill amid the exaspera- 
tion produced by the Radical secession. Seward wrote that 
"he has much practical good sense, and much caution." This 
was evidenced by the fact that, although only four Radicals 
voted to report Grain's bill, others gradually went over, until 

100 THE KISE OF JOHN YOUNG [Chap. xm. 

finally, on its passage, only Hunkers voted in the negative. 
It was a great triumph for Young. He had beaten a group of 
clever managers : he had weakened the Democratic party by 
widening the breach between its factions ; and he had turned 
the bill recommending a convention into a Whig measure. 

The bad news discouraged the senators who dreamed of an 
abiding union between the two factions; and, although one 
or two Radicals in the upper chamber favoured the submis- 
sion of the amendments separately to the people, the friends 
of the measure obtained two majority against all attempts to 
modify it, and four majority on its passage. The Governor's 
approval completed Young's triumph. He had not only re- 
tained his place as an able minority leader against the re- 
lentless, tireless assaults of a Seymour, a Croswell, and a 
Wright; but, in the presence of such odds, he had gained 
the distinction of turning a minority into a reliable majority 
in both houses, placing him at once upon a higher pedestal 
than is often reached by men of far greater genius and 

The determination of the Hunkers to pass a measure ap- 
propriating $197,000 for canal improvement made the situa- 
tion still more critical. Although the bill devoted the money 
to completing such unfinished portions of the Genesee Valley ' 
and Black River canals as the commissioners approved, it 
was clearly in violation of the spirit of the act of 1842 upon 
which Hunker and Radical had agreed to bury their differ- 
ences, and the latter resented its introduction as an inexcusa- 
ble affront ; but John Young now led his Whig followers to 
the camp of the Hunkers, and, in a few days, the measure lay 
upon the Governor's table for his approval or veto. 

Thus far. Governor Wright had been a disappointment to 
his party. Complaints from Radicals were heard before his 
inauguration. They resented his acceptance of a Hunker's 
hospitality, asserting that he should have made his home at 
a public house where Hunker and Radical alike could freely 
counsel with him; they complained of his resignation as 
United States senator, insisting that he ought to have held 


the oflBce until his inauguration as governor and thus pre- 
vented Bouck appointing a Hunker as his successor; they 
denounced his indifference in the speakership contest; and 
they murmured at his opposition to a constitutional conven- 
tion. There was cause for some of these lamentations. It 
was plain that the Governor was neither a leader nor a con- 
ciliator. A little tact would have held the Radicals in line 
against a constitutional convention and kept inviolate the 
act of 1842, but he either did not possess or disclaimed the 
arts and diplomacies of a political manager. He could grap- 
ple with principles in the United States Senate and follow 
them to their logical end, but he could not see into the real- 
ities of things as clearly as Seymour, or estimate, with the 
same accuracy, the relative strength of conflicting tendencies 
in the political world. Writers of that day express amaze- 
ment at the course of Silas Wright in vetoing the canal ap- 
propriation, some of them regarding him as a sort of political 
puzzle, others attributing his action to the advice of false 
friends; but his adherence to principle more easily explains 
it. Seymour knew that the "up-state" voters, who would 
probably hold the balance of power in the next election, 
wanted the canal finished and would resent its defeat. 
Wright, on the other hand, believed in a suspension of public 
works until the debt of the State was brought within the 
safe control of its revenues, and in the things he stood for, he 
was as unyielding as flint. 

When the Legislature adjourned Hunkers and Radicals 
were too wide apart even to unite in the usual address to 
constituents ; and in the fall campaign of 1845, the party fell 
back upon the old issues of the year before. To the aston- 
ishment of the Hunkers, however, the legislative session 
opened in January, 184G, with two Radicals to one Conserva- 
tive. It looked to the uninitiated as if the policy of canal im- 
provement had fallen into disfavour ; but Croswell, and other 
Hunkers in the inner political circle, understood that a 
change, long foreseen by them, was rapidly approaching. 
The people of New York felt profound interest in the conflict 

102 THE KISE OF JOHN YOUNG [Chap. vin. 

between slavery and freedom, and the fearless stand of Pres- 
ton King of St. Lawrence in supporting the Wilmot Proviso, 
excluding "slavery and involuntary servitude" from the ter- 
ritory obtained from Mexico, had added fuel to the flame. 
King was a Radical from principle and from prejudice. For 
four successive years he had been in the Assembly, hostile 
to canals and opposed to all improvements. In his bitter- 
ness he denounced the Whig party as the old Federalist party 
under another name. He was now, at the age of forty, serv- 
ing his second term in Congress. But, obstinate and uncom- 
promising as was his Democracy, the aggressive spirit and 
encroaching designs of slavery had so deeply disturbed him 
that he refused to go with his party in its avowed purpose 
of extending slavery into free or newly acquired territory. 

To the Hunkers, this new departure seemed to offer an op- 
portunity of weakening the Radicals by forcing them into op- 
position to the Polk administration; and a resolution, ap- 
proving the course of the New York congressmen who had 
supported the annexation of Texas, appeared in the Senate 
soon after its organisation. Very naturally, politicians were 
afraid of it ; and the debate, which quickly degenerated into 
bitter personalities, indicated that the Free-soil sentiment, 
soon to inspire the new Republican party, had not only taken 
root among the Radicals, but that rivalries between the two 
factions rested on differences of principle far deeper than 
canal improvement. "If you study the papers at all," wrote 
William H. Seward, "you will see that the Barnburners of 
this State have carried the war into Africa, and the extra- 
ordinary- spectacle is exhibited of Democrats making up an 
issue of slavery at Washington. The consequences of this 
movement cannot be fully apprehended. It brings on the 
great question sooner and more directly than we have even 
hoped. All questions of revenue, currency, and economy sink 
before it. The hour for the discussion of emancipation is 
nearer at hand, by many years, than has been supposed."" 
" F. W. Seward. Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 33. 



The constitutional convention, called by the Legislature 
of 1845, received popular sanction at the fall elections ; and, 
in April, 1846, one hundred and twenty-eight delegates were 
chosen. The convention assembled on the first day of June, 
and terminated its labours on the ninth day of October. It 
was an able body of men. It did not contain, perhaps, so 
many distinguished citizens as its predecessor in 1821, but, 
like the convention of a quarter of a century before, it in- 
cluded many men who had acquired reputations for great 
ability at the bar and in public affairs during the two decades 
immediately preceding it. Among the more prominent were 
Michael Hoffman of Herkimer, famous for his influence in 
the cause of canal economy ; James Tallmadge of Dutchess, 
whose inspiring eloquence had captivated conventions and 
legislatures for thirty years ; William C. Bouck of Schoharie, 
the unconquered Hunker who had faced defeat as gracefully 
as he had accepted gubernatorial honours; Samuel Nelson, 
recently appointed to the United States Supreme Court after 
an experience of twenty-two years upon the circuit and su- 
preme bench of the State; Charles S. Kirkland and Ezekiel 
Bacon of Oneida, the powerful leaders of a bar famous in 
that day for its famous lawyers; Churchill C. Cambreling 
of New York, a member of Congress for eighteen consecutive 
years, and, more recently, minister to Russia; George W. 
Patterson of Livingston, a constant, untiring and enthusias- 
tic Whig champion, twice elected speaker of the Assembly 
and soon to become lieutenant-governor. 

Of the younger delegates, three were just at the threshold 



of their brilliant and distinguished careers. John K. Porter 
of Saratoga — ^then only twenty-seven years old, afterward to 
become a member of the Court of Appeals and the associate 
of William M. Evarts as counsel for Henry Ward Beecher 
in the Tilton suit — discussed the judiciary in speeches sin- 
gularly adapted to reach the understanding of the delegates ; 
Samuel J. Tilden, who had served respectably but without 
distinction in the Assembly of 1845 and 1846, evidenced his 
inflexible courage and high intellectual qualities; and 
Charles O'Conor, already known to the public, gave signal 
proof of the prodigious extent of those powers and acquire- 
ments which finally entitled him to rank with the greatest 
lawyers of any nation or any time. 

Of the more distinguished members of the convention of 
1821, James Tallmadge alone sat in the convention of 1846. 
Daniel D. Tompkins, Rufus King, William W. Van Ness, 
Jonas Piatt, and Abraham Van Vechten were dead ; James 
Kent, now in his eighty-third year, was delivering law lec- 
tures in New York City ; Ambrose Spencer, having served as 
chairman of the Whig national convention at Baltimore, in 
1844, had returned, at the age of eighty-one, to the quiet of 
his agricultural pursuits in the vicinity of Lyons; Martin 
Van Buren, still rebellious against his party, was watching 
from his retreat at Lindenwald the strife over the Wilmot 
Proviso, embodying the opposition to the extension of sla- 
very into new territories ; Erastus Root, at the age of seventy- 
four, was dying in New York City; and Samuel Young, fa- 
mous by his knightly service in the cause of the Radicals, had 
just finished in the Assembly, with the acerbity of temper that 
characterised his greatest oratorical efforts during nearly 
half a century of public life, an eloquent Indictment of the 
Hunkers, whom he charged with being the friends of monop- 
oly, the advocates of profuse and unnecessary expenditures 
of the public funds, and the cause of much corrupt 

But of all men in the State the absence of William H. Sew- 
ard was the most noticeable. For four years, as governor, 


he had stood for internal improvements, for the reorganisa- 
tion of the judiciary along lines of progress, for diminishing 
official patronage, for modifying, and ultimately doing away 
with, feudal tenures, and for free schools and universal suf- 
frage. His experience and ability would have been most help- 
ful in the formation of the new constitution ; but he would 
not become a delegate except from Auburn, and a majority of 
the people of his own assembly district did not want him. 
"The world are all mad with me here," he wrote Weed, "be- 
cause I defended Wyatt too faithfully. God help them to a 
better morality. The prejudices against me grows by reason 
of the Van Nest murder !"^ Political friends offered him a 
nomination and election from Chautauqua, but he declined, 
urging as a further reason that the Whigs would be in the 
minority, and his presence might stimulate fresh discords 
among them. 

Horace Greeley had expected a nomination from Chau- 
tauqua. He had relations who promised him support, and 
with their failure to elect him began that yearning for office 
which was destined to doom him to many bitter disappoint- 
ments. Until now, he had kept his desires to himself. He 
wanted to be postmaster of New York in 1841; and, when 
Seward failed to anticipate his ambition, he recalled the 
scriptural injunction, "Ask, and it shall be given you." So, 
he conferred with Weed about the constitutional convention. 
Washington County was suggested, then Delaware, and later 
Albany; but, the nominees having been selected, the project 
was abandoned, and Horace Greeley waited until the conven- 
tion of 1867. Weed expressed the belief that if Greeley's 
wishes had been known two weeks earlier, his ambition might 
have been gratified, although on only two occasions had non- 
resident delegates ever been selected. 

Popular sovereignty attained its highest phase under the 

Constitution of 1846; and the convention must always be 

notable as the great dividing line between a government by 

the people, and a government delegated by the people to cer- 

' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 1, p. 791. 


tain officials — executive, legislative, and judicial — who were 
invested with general and more or less permanent powers. 
Under the Constitution of 1821, the power of appointment 
was placed in the governor, the Senate, and the Assembly. 
State officers were elected by the Legislature, judges nomi- 
nated by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, district 
attorneys appointed by county courts, justices of the peace 
chosen by boards of supervisors, and mayors of cities selected 
by the common council. Later amendments made justices of 
the peace and mayors of cities elective; but, with these ex- 
<;eptions, from 1821 to 1846 the Constitution underwent no 
organic changes. Under the Constitution of 1846, however, 
all officers became elective; and, to bring them still nearer 
the people, an elective judiciary was decentralised, terms of 
senators were reduced from four to two years, and the se- 
lection of legislators was confined to single districts. It was 
also provided that amendments to the Constitution might be 
submitted to the people at any time upon the approval of a 
bare legislative majority. Even the office of governor, which 
had been jealously reserved to native citizens, was thrown 
open to all comers, whether born in the United States or 

As if to accentuate the great change which public senti- 
ment had undergone in the preceding twenty years these pro- 
visions were generally concurred in by large majorities and 
without political bias. The proposition that a governor need 
not be either a freeholder or a native citizen was sustained 
by a vote of sixty-one to forty-nine; the proposal to over- 
I'ome the governor's veto by a majority instead of a two- 
thirds vote was carried by sixty-one to thirty-six ; the term of 
senators was reduced from four to two years by a vote of 
eighty to twenty-three; and their selection confined to single 
districts by a majority of seventy-nine to thirty-one. An 
equally large majority favoured the provision that no mem- 
ber of the Legislature should receive from the governor or 
Legislature any civil appointment within the State, or to the 
United States Senate. Charles O'Conor antagonised the in- 


liibition of an election to the United States Senate with much 
learning and eloquence. He thought the power of the State 
to qualify or restrict the choice of senators was inconsistent 
with the Federal Constitution; but the great majority of the 
convention held otherwise. Indeed, so popular did this sec- 
tion become that, in 1874, members of the Legislature were 
prohibited from taking oflSce under a city government. 

The period when property measured a man's capacity and 
influence also seems to have passed away with the adoption 
of. the Constitution of 1846. For the first time in the State's 
history, the great landholders lost control, and provisions 
as to the land law became clear and wholesome. Feudal 
tenures were abolished, lands declared allodial, fines and 
quarter sales made void, and leases of agricultural lands for 
longer than twelve years pronounced illegal. Although 
vested rights could not be affected, the policy of the new con- 
stitutional conditions, aided by the accessibility of better 
and cheaper lands along lines of improved transportation, 
compelled landlords in the older parts of the State to seek 
compromises and to offer greater inducements. The only per-/ 
sons required to own property in order to enjoy suffrage and! 
the right to hold oflBce were negroes, who continued toj 
rest under the ban until the adoption of the fifteenth amend-' 
ment to the Federal Constitution. The people of New York' 
felt profound interest in the great conflict between slavery 
and freedom, but, for more than a quarter of a century after 
the Wilmot Proviso became the shibboleth of the Barn- 
burners, a majority of voters denied the coloured man equal- 
ity of suffrage. Among the thirty-two delegates in the con- 
vention of 1846 who refused to allow the people to pass upon 
the question of equality of suffrage, appear the names of 
Charles O'Conor and Samuel J. Tilden. 

The great purpose of the convention was the reform of the 
laws relating to debt and to the creation of a new judicial 
establishment. Michael Hoffman headed the committee 
charged with the solution of financial problems. He saw the 
importance of devoting the resources of the State to the re- 


duction of its debt. It was important to the character of 
the people, he thought, that they should be restless and im- 
patient under the obligation of debt ; and the strong ground 
taken by him against an enlargement of the Erie and its 
lateral canals had resulted in the passage of the famous act 
of 1842, the substance of which he now desired incorporated 
into the Constitution. He would neither tolerate compro- 
mises with debtors of the State, nor allow its credit to be 
loaned. He favoured sinking funds, he advocated direct taxa- 
tion, he insisted upon the strictest observance of appropria- 
tion laws, and he opposed the sale of the canals. In his 
speeches he probably exaggerated the canal debt, just as he 
minimised the canal income and brushed aside salt and auc- 
tion duties as of little importance ; yet everybody recognised 
him as the schoolmaster of the convention on financial sub- 
jects. His blackboard shone in the sunlight. He was cour- 
teous, but without much deference. There was neither yield- 
ing nor timidity. If his flint struck a spark by collision with 
another, it made little difference to him. Yet years after- 
ward, Thurlow Weed, who backed Seward in his appeal for 
more extensive internal improvements, admitted that to Hoff- 
man's enlightened statesmanship. New York was indebted 
for the financial article in the Constitution of 1846, which 
had preserved the public credit and the public faith through 
every financial crisis.^ 

Hoffman placed the state debt, with interest which must 
be paid up to the time of its extinguishment, at thirty-eight 
million dollars. Out of the canal revenues he wanted 
11,500,000 paid yearly upon the canal debt; $672,000 set 
apart for the use of the State; and the balance applied to the 
improvement of the Erie canal, whenever the surplus 
amounted to $2,500,000. Further to conserve the interests 
of the Commonwealth, he insisted that its credit should not 
be loaned; that its borrowed money should not exceed one 
million dollars, except to repel invasion or suppress insur- 
rection ; and that no debt should be created without laying 
' AutoUography of Thurlow Weed, p. 34. 


a direct annual tax suflScient to pay principal and interest in 
eighteen years. The result showed that, in spite of vigorous 
opposition, he got all he demanded. Some of the amounts 
were reduced ; others slightly diverted ; and the remaining 
surplus of the canal revenues, instead of accumulat- 
ing until it aggregated |2,500,000, was applied each year to 
the enlargement of the Erie canal and the completion of the 
Genesee Valley and Black River canals; but his plan was 
practically adopted and time has amply justified the wisdom 
of his limitations. In concluding his last speech, the dis- 
tinguished Radical declared "that this legislation would not 
only preserve the credit of New York by keeping its debts 
paid, but it would cause every State in the Union, as soon 
as such States were able to do so, to sponge out its debts 
by payment and thus remove from representative govern- 
ment the reproaches cast upon us on the other side of the 

But Hoflfman, while exciting the admiration of all men for 
his persistence, dexterity, and ability, did not lead the most 
important contest. In 1846, the popular desire for radical 
changes in the judiciary was not less peremptory than the 
expression in 1821. Up to this time, the courts of the State, 
in part, antedated the War of Independence. Now, in 
place of the ancient appointive system, the people de- 
manded an elective judiciary which should be responsible to 
them and bring the courts to them. To make these changes, 
the president of the convention appointed a committee of 
thirteen, headed by Charles H. Ruggles of Dutchess, which 
embraced the lawyers of most eminence among the delegates. 
After the chairman came Charles O'Conor of New York, 
Charles P. Kirkland of Utica, Ambrose L. Jordan of Co- 
lumbia, Arphaxed Loomis of Herkimer, Alvah Worden of 
Saratoga, George W. Patterson of Livingston, and several 
others of lesser note. At the end of the committee appeared 
a merchant and a farmer, possibly for the reason that con- 
diments make a dish more savoury. Ruggles was a simple- 

' Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of New York, Vol. 3, p. 655. 


hearted and wise man. He had been on the Supreme bench 
for fifteen years, becoming one of the distinguished jurists 
of the State. In the fierce conflicts between Clintonians and 
Bucktails he acted with the former, and then, in 1828, 
followed DeWitt Clinton to the support of Andrew 
Jackson. But Buggies never offended anybody. His wise 
and moderate counsel had drawn the fire from many a wild 
and dangerous scheme, but it left no scars. Prudence and 
modesty had characterised his life, and his selection as chair- 
man of the judiciary committee disarmed envy and jeal- 
ousy. He was understood to favour an elective judiciary 
and moderation in all doubtful reforms. Arphaxed Loomis 
possessed unusual abilities as a public speaker, and, during 
a brief career in the Assembly, had become known as an ad- 
vocate of legal reform. He was afterward, in April, 1847, ap- 
pointed a commissioner on practice and pleadings for the 
purpose of providing a uniform course of proceedings in all 
cases; and, to him, perhaps, more than to any one else, is 
due the credit of establishing one form of action for the 
protection of private rights and the redress of private 
wrongs. Worden had been a merchant, who, losing his en- 
tire possessions by failure, began the study of law at the age 
of thirty-four and quickly took a prominent place among the 
lawyers of the State. Ambrose L. Jordan, although some- 
what younger than Benjamin F. Butler, Thomas Oakley, 
Henry R. Storrs, and other former leaders of the bar, 
was their successful opponent, and had gained the distinc- 
tion of winning the first breach of promise suit in which a 
woman figured as defendant. Patterson had rare and ex- 
quisite gifts which made him many friends and kept him for 
half a century prominent in political affairs. Though of un- 
doubted intellectual power, clear-sighted, and positive, he 
rarely answered other men's arguments, and never with 
warmth or heat. But he had, however, read and mastered 
tlie law, and his voice was helpful in conferring upon the 
people a system which broke the yoke of the former colonial 


The majority report of the judiciary committee provided 
for a new court of last resort, to be called the Court of Ap- 
peals, which was to consist of eight members, four of whom 
were to be elected from the State at large for a term of eight 
years, and four to be chosen from the justices of the Supreme 
Court. A new Supreme Court of thirty -two members, having 
general and original jurisdiction in law and equity, was es- 
tablished in place of the old Supreme Court and Court of 
Chancery, the State being divided into eight districts, in 
each of which four judges were to be elected. In addition 
to these great courts, inferior local tribunals of civil and 
criminal jurisdiction were provided for cities. The report 
thus favoured three radical changes. Judges became elective, j 
courts of law and equity were united, and county courts were ■ 
abolished. The inclusion of senators in the old Court of 
Errors — which existed from the foundation of the State — 
had made the elective system somewhat familiar to the peo- 
ple, to whom it had proved more satisfactory than the meth- 
od of appointment ; but the union of courts of law and equity 
was an untried experiment in New York. It had the sanc- 
tion of other States, and, in part, of the judicial system of the 
United States, where procedure at law and in equity had be- 
come assimilated, if not entirely blended, thus abolishing 
the inconvenience of so many tribunals and affording greater 
facility for the trial of equity causes involving questions of 

But delegates were slow to profit by the experience of other 
Commonwealths. From the moment the report was sub- 
mitted attacks upon it became bitter and continuous. 
Charles O'Conor opposed the elective system, the union of 
the two courts, and the abolition of the county 
court. Charles P. Kirkland proposed that only three mem- 
bers of the Court of Appeals be elected, the others to be ap- 
pointed by the governor, with the consent of the Senate. 
Alvah Worden wanted two Courts of Appeals, one of law 
and one of chancery, neither of which should be elective. 
Simmons desired a different organisation of the Supreme 


Court, and Bascom objected to the insufScient number of 
sessions of the court provided for the whole State. Others 
of the minority submitted reports and opinions, until the 
subject seemed hopelessly befogged and the work of the ma- 
jority a failure. O'Conor was especially impatient and rest- 
less in his opposition. In skill and ability no one could vie 
with him in making the old ways seem better. He was now 
forty-two years old. He had a powerful and vigorous frame, 
and a powerful and vigorous understanding. It was the won- 
der of his colleagues how, in addition to the faithful work 
performed in committee, he could get time for the research 
that was needed to equip him for the great speeches with 
which he adorned the debates. He never held office, save, 
during a portion of President Pierce's administration, that 
of United States attorney for the southern district of New 
York; but his rapid, almost instinctive judgment, his tact, 
his ability to crush sophistries with a single sentence, and 
his vigorous rhetoric must have greatly distinguished his ad- 
ministration of any office which he might have occupied. 
Yet the conservatism which finally separated him from 
the cordial supporters of the government during the 
Civil War usually kept him in the minority. His spirit was 
not the spirit that governed; and, in spite of his brilliant 
and determined opposition, the convention of 1846 accepted 
the elective system, approved the union of equity and law 
courts, prohibited the election of a member of the Legislature 
to the United States Senate, and submitted to the decision of 
the people the right of coloured men to equal suffrage. Only 
in the retention of the county court were O'Conor's views 
sustained; and this came largely through the influence of 
Arphaxed Loomis, the material part of whose amendment 
was ultimately adopted. When, finally, the Constitution in 
its entirety was submitted to the convention for its approval, 
O'Conor was one of six to vote against it. 

The Constitution of 1846 was the people's Constitution. 
It reserved to them the right to act more frequently upon a 
large class of questions, introducing the referendum which 


characterises popular government, and making it a more per- 
fect expression of the popular will. That the people appre- 
ciated the greater power reserved to them was shown on the 
third of November, by a vote of 221,528 to 92,436. With few 
modifications, the Constitution of 1846 still remains in force, 
— ample proof that wisdom, unalloyed with partisan poli- 
tics or blind conservatism, guided the convention which 
framed it. 



The Democratic campaign for governor in 1846 opened 
with extraordinary interest. Before the Legislature ad- 
journed, on May 13, the Hunkers refused to attend a party 
caucus for the preparation of the usual address. Subse- 
quently, however, they issued one of their own, charging the 
Radicals with hostility to the Polk administration and with 
selfishness, born of a desire to control every oflSce within the 
gift of the canal board. The address did not, in terms, name 
Silas Wright, but the Governor was not blind to its attacks. 
"They are not very diflferent from what I expected when I 
consented to take this office," he wrote a friend in Canton. 
"I do not yet think it positively certain that we shall lose 
the convention, but that its action and the election are to 
produce a perfect separation of a portion of our party from 
the main body I cannot any longer entertain a single doubt. 
You must not permit appearances to deceive you. Although 
1 am not denounced here by name with others, the disposi- 
tion to do that, if policy would permit, is not even disguised, 
and every man known to be strongly my friend and firmly 
in my confidence is more bitterly denounced than any other."^ 

It is doubtful if Silas Wright himself fully comprehended 
the real reason for such bitterness. He was a natural gentle- 
man, kindly and true. He might sometimes err in judgment ; 
but he was essentially a statesman of large and comprehen- 
sive vision, incapable of any meanness or conscious wrong- 
doing. The masses of the party regarded him as the 

' Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of New Tork, Vol. 3, p. 756. 



representative of the opportunity which a great State, in a 
republic, holds out to the children of its humblest and 
poorest citizens. He was as free from guile as a little child. 
To him principle and party stood before all other things; 
and he could not be untrue to one any more than to the 
other. But the leaders of the Hunker wing did not take 
kindly to him. They could not forget that the Radical state 
ofiScers, with whom he coincided in principle, in conjuring 
with his name in 1844 had defeated the renomination of Gov- 
ernor Bouck ; and, though they might admit that hi§,noinina- 
tion practically elected Polk, by extracting the^'^arty from 
the mire of Texas annexation, they preferred, deep in their 
hearts, a Whig governor to his coofiauance in oflSce, since 
his influence with the people for high ends was not in accord 
with their purposes. For more than a decade these men, as 
Samuel Young charged in his closing speech in the Assembly 
of that year, had been after the flesh-pots. They favoured the 
banking monopoly, preferring special charters that could be 
sold to free franchises under a general law ; they influenced 
the creation of state stocks in which they profited; they 
owned lands which would appreciate by the construction of 
canals and railroads. To all these selfish interests, the Gov- 
ernor's restrictive policy was opposed; and while they did 
not dare denounce him by name, as the Governor suggested 
in his letter, their tactics increased the hostility that was 
eventually to destroy him. 

It must be confessed, however, that the representation of 
Hunkers at the Democratic state convention, held at Syra- 
cuse on October 1, did not indicate much popular strength. 
The Radicals outnumbered them two to one. On the first bal- 
lot Silas Wright received one hundred and twelve votes out 
of one hundred and twenty-five, and, upon motion of Horatio 
Sej'mour, the nomination became unanimous. For lieuten- 
ant-governor, Addison Gardiner was renominated by accla- 
mation. The convention then closed its labours with the 
adoption of a platform approving the re-enactment of the in- 
dependent treasury law, the passage of the Walker tariff act. 


and the work of the constitutional convention, with an ex- 
pression of hope that the Mexican War, which had com- 
menced on the 12th of the preceding May, might be speedily 
and honourably terminated. The address concluded with a 
just eulogy of Silas Wright. At the moment, the contest 
seemed at an end ; but the sequel showed it was only a sur- 
face settlement. 

If Democrats were involved in a quarrel, the Whigs were 
scarcely a happy family. It is not easy to pierce the fog 
which shrouds the division of the party ; but it is clear that 
when Seward became governor and Weed dictator, trouble 
began in respect to men and to measures. Though less 
marked, possibly, than the differences between Democratic 
factions, the discord seemed to increase with the hopeless- 
ness of Whig ascendancy. Undoubtedly it began with Sew- 
ard's recommendation of separate schools for the children 
of foreigners, and in his pronounced anti-slavery views ; but 
it had also festered and expanded from disappointments, and 
from Weed's opposition to Henry Clay in 1836 and 1840. 
Even Horace Greeley, already consumed with a desire for 
public preferment, began to chafe under the domineering in- 
fluence of Weed and the supposed neglect of Seward ; while 
Millard Fillmore, and those acting with him, although re- 
taining personal relations with Weed, were ready to break 
away at the first opportunity. As the Whigs had been in 
the minority for several years, the seriousness of these dif- 
ferences did not become public knowledge; but the news- 
papers divided the party into Radicals and Conservatives, 
the former being represented by the Evening Journal and 
the Tribune, the latter by the New York Courier and En- 
ijutrer and the Buffalo Commercial-Advertiser. 

This division, naturally, led to some difference of opinion 
about a candidate for governor; and, when the Whig state 
convention met at Utica on September 23, an informal bal- 
lot developed fifty-five votes for Millard Fillmore, thirty-six 
for John Young, and twenty-one for Ira Harris, with eight 
or ten scattering. Fillmore had not sought the nomination. 

1846] lEA HAEEIS 117 

Indeed, there is evidence that he protested against the pres- 
entation of his name; but his vote represented the conser- 
vative Whigs who did not take kindly either to Young or 
to Harris. Ira Harris, who was destined to bear a great part 
in a great history, had just entered his forty-fourth year. He 
was graduated from Union College with the highest honours, 
studied law with Ambrose Spencer, and slowly pushed him- 
self into the front rank of practitioners at the Albany bar. 
In 1844, while absent in the West, the Anti-Eenters nomi- 
nated him, without his knowledge, for the Assembly, and, with 
the help of the Whigs, elected him. He had in no wise identi- 
fied himself with active politics or with anti-rent associa- 
tions ; but the people honoured him for his integrity as well 
as for his fearless support of the principle of individual 
rights. In the Assembly he demonstrated the wisdom of 
their choice, evidencing distinguished ability and political 
tact. In 1845 the same people returned him to the Assembly. 
Then, in the following year, they sent him to the constitu- 
tional convention ; and, some months later, to the State Sen- 
ate. Beneath his plain courtesy was great firmness. He 
could not be otherwise than the constant friend of every- 
thing which made for the emancipation and elevation of the 
individual. His advocacy of an elective judiciary, the union 
of law and equity, and the simplification of pleadings and 
practice in the courts, showed that there were few stronger 
or clearer intellects in the constitutional convention. With 
good reason, therefore, the constituency that sent him there 
favoured him for governor. 

But John Young shone as the popular man of the hour. 
Young was a middle-of-the-road Whig, whose candidacy 
grew out of his recent legislative record. He had forced the 
passage of the bill calling a constitutional convention, and 
had secured the canal appropriation which the Governor 
deemed it wise to veto. In the Assembly of 1845 and 1846, 
he became his party's choice for speaker ; and, though not a 
man of refinement or scholarly attainments, or one, perhaps, 
whose wisdom and prudence could safely be relied upon 


tinder the stress of great responsibilities, he was just then 
the chief figure of the State and of great influence with the 
people — especially with the Anti-Renters and their sympa- 
thisers, whose strife and turbulence in Columbia and Dela- 
ware counties had been summarily suppressed by Governor 
Wright. The older leaders of his party thought him some- 
what of a demagogue ; Thurlow Weed left the convention in 
disgust when he discovered that a pre-arranged transfer of 
the Harris votes would nominate him. But, with the avowed 
friendship of Ira Harris, Young was stronger at this time 
than Weed, and on the third ballot he received seventy-six 
votes to forty-five for Fillmore. To balance the ticket, Ham- 
ilton Fish became the candidate for lieutenant-governor. 
Fish represented the eastern end of the State, the conserva- 
tive wing of the party, and New York City, where he was 
deservedly popular. 

There were other parties in the field. The Abolitionists 
made nominations, and the Native Americans put up Ogden 
Edwards, a Whig of some prominence, who had served in 
the Assembly, in the constitutional convention of 1821, and 
upon the Supreme bench. But it was the action of the Anti- 
Renters, or national reformers as they were called, that most 
seriously embarrassed the Whigs and the Democrats. The 
Anti-Renters could scarcely be called a party, although they 
had grown into a political organisation which held the bal- 
ance of power in several counties. Unlike the Abolitionists, 
however, they wanted immediate results rather than sacri- 
fices for principle, and their support was deemed important 
if not absolutely conclusive. When the little convention of 
less than thirty delegates met at Albany in October, there- 
fore, their ears listened for bids. They sought a pardon for 
the men convicted in 1845 for murderous outrages perpe- 
trated in Delaware and Schoharie; and, although unsup- 
ported by proof, it was afterward charged and never denied, 
that, either at the time of their convention or subsequently 
before the election, Ira Harris produced a letter from John 
Young in which the latter promised executive clemency in 


the event of his election. However this may be, it is not un- 
likely that Harris' relations with the Anti-Eenters aided 
materially in securing Young's indorsement, and it is a mat- 
ter of record that soon after Young's inauguration the mur- 
derers were pardoned, the Governor justifying his action 
upon the ground that their offences were political. The 
democratic Anti-Renters urged Silas Wright to give some 
assurances that he, too, would issue a pardon ; but the Cato 
of his party, who never caressed or cajoled his political an- 
tagonists, declined to give any intimation upon the sub- 
ject. Thereupon, as if to emphasise their dislike of Wright, 
the Anti-Rent delegates indorsed John Young for governor 
and Addison Gardiner for lieutenant-governor. 

In the midst of the campaign William C. Bouck received 
the federal appointment of sub-treasurer in New York, under 
the act re-establishing the independent treasury system. This 
office was one of the most important in the gift of the Presi- 
dent, and, because the appointee was the recognised head 
of the Hunkers, the impression immediately obtained that 
the government at Washington disapproved the re-election of 
Silas Wright. It became the sensation of the hour. Many 
believed the success of the Governor would make him a for- 
midable candidate for President in 1848, and the impropriety 
of Polk's action occasioned much adverse criticism. The 
President and several members of his Cabinet privately as- 
sured the Governor of their warmest friendship, but, as one 
member of the radical wing expressed it, "Bouck's appoint- 
ment became a significant indication of the guillotine pre- 
pared for Governor Wright in November." 

Other causes than the Democratic feud also contributed 
to the discomfiture of Silas Wright. John Young had made 
an admirable record in the Assembly. He had also, at the 
outbreak of hostilities with Mexico, although formerly op- 
posed to the annexation of Texas, been among the first to 
approve the war, declaring that "Texas was now bone of our 
bone, flesh of our flesh, and that since the rights of our citi- 
zens had been trampled upon, he would sustain the country, 


right or wrong." ^ It soon became evident, too, that the Anti- 
Renters were warm and persistent friends. His promise to 
pardon their leaders received the severe condemnation of the 
conservative Whig papers; but such censure only added to 
his vote in Anti-Kent counties. In like manner, Young's sup- 
port of the canals and Wright's veto of the appropriation, 
strengthened the one and weakened the other in all the canal 
counties. Indeed, after the election it was easy to trace all 
these influences. Oneida, a strong canal county, which had 
given Wright eight hundred majority in 1844, now gave 
Young thirteen hundred. Similar results appeared in Lewis, 
Alleghany, Herkimer, and other canal counties. In Albany, 
an Anti-Rent county, the Whig majority of twenty-five was 
increased to twenty-eight hundred, while Delaware, another 
Anti-Rent stronghold, changed Wright's majority of nine 
hundred in 1844, to eighteen hundred for Young. On the 
other hand, in New York City, where the conservative Whig 
papers had bitterly assailed their candidate, Wright's ma- 
jority of thirty-three hundred in 1844 was increased to nearly 
fifty-two hundred. In the State Young's majority over 
Wright exceeded eleven thousand,' and Gardiner's over Fish 
was more than thirteen thousand. The Anti-Renters, who 
had also indorsed one Whig and one Democratic canal com- 
missioner, gave them majorities of seven and thirteen thou- 
sand respectively. Of eight senators chosen, the Whigs 
elected five ; and of the one hundred and twenty-eight assem- 
blymen, sixty-eight, the minority being made up of fifty Dem- 
ocrats and ten Anti-Renters. The Whig returns also in- 
cluded twenty-three out of thirty-four congressmen. 

It was a sweeping victory — one of the sporadic kind that 
occur in moments of political unrest when certain classes 
are in rebellion against some phase of existing conditions. 
Seward, who happened to be in Albany over Sunday, pictured 

= Jabez D. Hammond, Political Eistory of New York, Vol. 3, p. 762. 

'John Young, 198,878; Silas Wright, 187,306; Henry Bradley ,V 
12,844; Ogden Edwards, 6306.— Civil Ust, State of New York (1887), ^ 
p. 166. / 


the situation in one of his racy letters. "To-day," he says, 
"I have been at St. Peter's and heard one of those excellent 
discourses of Dr. Potter. There was such a jumble of wrecks 
of party in the church that I forgot the sermon and fell to 
moralising on the vanity of political life. You know my 
seat. Well, half-way down the west aisle sat Silas Wright, 
wrapped in a coat tightly buttoned to the chin, looking phi- 
losophy, which it is hard to affect and harder to attain. On 
the east side sat Daniel D. Barnard, upon whom 'Anti-Rent' 
has piled Ossa, while Pelion only has been rolled upon 
Wright. In the middle of the church was Croswell, who 
seemed to say to Wright, 'You are welcome to the gallows 
you erected for me.' On the opposite side sat John Young, 
the saved among the lost politicians. He seemed complacent 
and satisfied."* 

The defeat of Silas Wright caused no real surprise. It 
seemed to be in the air. Everything was against him save 
his own personal influence, based upon his sincerity, integ- 
rity, and lofty patriotism. Seward had predicted the result 
at the time of Wright's nomination in 1844, and Wright him- 
self had anticipated it. "I told some friends when I con- 
sented to take this ofiSce," he wrote John Fine, his Canton 
friend, in March, 1846, "that it would terminate my public 
life."^ But the story of Silas Wright's administration as 
governor was not all a record of success. He was opposed 
to a constitutional convention as well as to a canal appro- 
priation, and, by wisely preventing the former, it is likely 
the latter would not have been forced upon him. Without a 
convention bill and a canal veto, the party would not have 
divided seriously, John Young would not have become a 
popular hero, and the Anti-Renters could not have held the 
balance of power. To prevent the calling of a constitutional 
convention, therefore, or at least to have confined it within 
limits approved by the Hunkers, was the Governor's great 

' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 3, p. 34. 
' Jabez D. Hammond, Politieal History of New York, "Vol. 3, p. 756. 


opportunity. It would not have been an easy task. William 
C. Grain had a profound conviction on the subject, and back 
of him stood Michael Hoffman, the distinguished and unre- 
lenting Radical, determined to put the act of 1842 into the 
organic law of the State. But there was a time when a mas- 
ter of politica] diplomacy could have controlled the situation. 
Even after permitting Grain's defeat for speaker, the ap- 
pointment of Michael Hoffman to the judgeship vacated by 
Samuel Nelson's transfer to the federal bench would have 
placed a powerful lever in the Governor's hand. Hoffman 
had not sought the office, but the appointment would have 
softened him into a friend, and with Michael Hoffman as an 
ally, Grain and his legislative followers could have been 

It is interesting to study the views of Wright's contempo- 
raries as to the causes of his defeat.® One thought he should 
have forced the convention and veto issues in the campaign 
of 1845, compelling people and press to thresh them out a 
year in advance of his own candidacy; another believed if 
he had vetoed the convention bill a canal appropriation 
would not have passed; a third charged him with trusting 
too much in old friends who misguided hinj, and too little 
in new principles that had sprung up while he was absent 
in the United States Senate. One writer, apparently the most 
careful observer, admitted the influence of Anti-Renters and 
the unpopularity of the canal veto, but insisted that the real 
cause of the Governor's defeat was the opposition of the 
Hunkers, "bound together exclusively by selfish interests and 
seeking only personal advancement and personal gain."^ 

" Jabez D. Hammond, PoliUcal History of New York, Vol. 3, p. 691. 

' lUd., Vol. 3, p. 693. 

"More serious than either of these [Anti-Rent disturbance and 
veto of canal appropriation] was the harm done by the quiet yet 
persistent opposition of the Hunkers. Nor can it be doubted that 
the Influence of the Government at Washingi;on was thrown against 
him in that critical hour. Governor Marcy was secretary of war; 
Samuel Nelson had just been appointed a justice of the Supreme 
Court of the United States; Governor Bouck held one of the most 


This writer named Edwin Croswell as the leader whose wide 
influence rested like mildew upon the work of the campaign, 
sapping it of enthusiasm, and encouraging Democrats among 
Anti-Renters and those favourable to canals to put in the 
knife on election day. Such a policy, of course, it was 
argued, meant the delivery of Polk from a powerful oppo- 
nent in 1848, and the uninterrupted leadership of William L. 
Marcy, who now wielded a patronage, greatly increased by 
the Mexican War, in the interest of the Hunkers and for the 
defeat of Silas Wright. If this were not true, continued the 
writer, William C. Bouck's appointment would have been 
delayed until after election, and the work of postmasters 
and other government offlcials, who usually contributed gen- 
erously of their time and means in earnest support of their 
party, would not have been deadened. 

There is abundant evidence that Governor Wright held 
similar views. "I have neither time nor disposition to speak 
of the causes of our overthrow," he wrote, a few days after 
his defeat was assured. "The time will come when they 
must be spoken of, and that plainly, but it will be a painful 
duty, and one which I do not want to perform. Our princi- 
ples are as sound as they ever were, and the hearts of the 
great mass of our party will be found as true to them as 
ever. Hereafter I think our enemies will be open enemies, 
and against such the democracy has ever been able, and ever 
will be able to contend successfully."* 

Silas Wright's defeat in no wise pained him personally. 
Like John Jay he had the habits of seclusion. Manual labour 
on the farm, his correspondence, and the preparation of an 
address to be delivered at the State Agricultural Fair in Sep- 

iafluential offices in the city of New York— all these were members 
of that section of the party with which Governor Wright was not 
in sympathy. It was evident that he would not be able to maintain 
himself against an opposition of which the elements were so numer- 
ous, so varied, and so dangerous." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John 
A. Dix. Vol. 1, p. 227. 

« Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of New York, Vol. 3, p. 757. 


tember, occupied his leisure during the spring and summer 
of 1847.* "If I were to attempt to tell you how happy we 
make ourselves at our retired home," he wrote Governor Fair- 
field of Maine, "I fear you would scarcely be able to credit 
me. I even yet realise, every day and every hour, the relief 
from public cares, and if any thought about temporal affairs 
could make me more uneasy than another, it would be the 
serious one that I was again to take upon myself, in any 
capacity, that ever pressing load."^" This was written on the 
IGth of August, 1847, and on the morning of the 27th his 
useful life came to an end. The day before he had spoken 
of apoplexy in connection with the death of a friend, as if 
he, too, had a premonition of this dread disease. When the 
end came, the sudden rush of blood to the head left no doubt 
of its presence. 

The death of Silas Wright produced a profound sensation. 
Since the decease of DeWitt Clinton the termination of no 
public career in the State caused more real sorrow. Until 
then, the people scarcely realised how much they loved and 
respected him, and all were quick to admit that the history 
of the Commonwealth furnished few natures better fitted 
than his, morally and intellectually, for great public trusts. 
Perhaps he cannot be called a man of genius; but he was 

• "Nothing' can be imagined more admirable than the conduct of 
that great man under these trying circumstances. He returned at 
once to his beloved farm at Canton, and resumed, with apparent 
delight, the occupations of a rustic life. Visitors have related how 
they found him at work in his fields, in the midst of his farm- 
hands, setting an example of industry and zeal. His house was the 
shrine of many a pilgrimage; and, as profound regret at the loss 
of such a man from the councils of the State took the place of a 
less honourable sentiment, his popularity began to return. Al- 
ready, as the time for the nomination of a President drew near, 
men were looking to him, as an illustrious representative of the 
principles and hereditary faith of the Democratic-Republican party, 
in whose hands the country would be safe, no matter from what 
quarter the tempest might come." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John 
A. Dix, Vol. 1, p. 228. 

" Jabez D. Hammond, Political History of New York, Vol. 3, p. 729. 


a man of commanding ability, with that absolute probity and 
good sense which are the safest gifts of a noble character. 

On the 12th of the following December, James Kent died 
in his eighty-fifth year. He had outlived by eighteen years 
his contemporary, John Jay; by nearly forty-five years his 
great contemporary, Alexander Hamilton ; and by more than 
thirty years his distinguished predecessor, Chancellor Liv- 
ingston. He was the last of the heroic figures that made 
famous the closing quarter of the eighteenth and the open- 
ing quarter of the nineteenth centuries. He could sit at the 
table of Philip Hone, amidst eminent judges, distinguished 
statesmen, and men whose names were already famous in 
literature, and talk of the past with personal knowledge from 
the time the colony graciously welcomed John Murray, Earl 
of Dimmore, as its governor, or threateningly frowned upon 
William Howe, viscount and British general, for shutting up 
its civil courts. When, finally, his body was transferred from 
the sofa in the library where he had written himself into 
an immortal fame, to the cemetery on Second Avenue, the 
obsequies became the funeral not merely of a man but of 
an age. 



The fearless stand of Preston King in supporting the Wil- 
mot Proviso^ took root among the Radicals, as Seward 
prophesied, and the exclusion of slavery from territory ob- 
tained from Mexico, became the dominant Democratic issue 
in the State. Because of their approval of this principle the 
Radicals were called "Barnburners." Originally, these fac- 
tional differences, as noted elsewhere, grew out of the canal 
controversy in 1838 and in 1841, the Conservatives wishing 
to devote the surplus canal revenues to the completion of the 
canals — the Radicals insisting upon their use to pay the 
state debt. Under this division, Edwin Croswell, William O. 
Bouck, Daniel S. Dickinson, Henry A. Foster, and Horatio 
Seymour led the Conservatives; Michael Hoffman, John A. 
Dix, and Azariah C. Flagg marshalled the Radicals. When 
the Conservatives, "hankering" after the offices, accepted un- 
conditionally the annexation of Texas, they were called 
Hunkers. In like manner, the Radicals who sustained the 
Wilmot Proviso now became Barnburners, being likened to 
the farmer who burned his barn to get rid of rats. William 
L. Marcy, Silas Wright, Benjamin F. Butler, and the Van 

* "To understand the issue presented by the Wilmot Proviso it 
3nust be observed that its advocates sustained it on the distinct 
ground that, as slavery had been abolished throughout the Mexican 
Hepublic, the acquisition of territory without prohibiting slavery 
■would, on the theory asserted by the Southern States, lead to its 
Testoration where it had ceased to exist, and make the United States 
responsible for its extension to districts in which universal freedom 
had been established by the fundamental law." — ^Morgan Dix, 
Memoirs of John A. Dix, Vol. 1, p. 205. 



Burens took no part in the canal controversy ; but after Mar- 
tin Van Buren's defeat in 1844 Marcy became a prominent 
Hunker and entered Polk's Cabinet, while Wright, Butler^ 
and the Van Burens joined the Barnburners. 

Hostilities between the Hunkers and Barnburners, grow- 
ing out of the slavery question, began at the Democratic 
state convention, which convened at Syracuse, Sep- 
tember 7, 1847.^ Preceding this meeting both factions had 
been active, but the Hunkers, having succeeded in seating a 
majority of the delegates, promptly voted down a resolution 
embodying the principle of the Wilmot Proviso. Then the 
Barnburners seceded. There was no parleying. The breach 
opened like a chasm and the secessionists walked out in a 
body. This action was followed by an address, charging that 
the anti-slavery resolution had been defeated by a fraudulent 
organisation, and calling a mass convention for October 26, "to 
avow their principles and consult as to future action." This 
meeting became a gathering of Martin Van Buren's friends. 
It did not nominate a ticket, which would have defeated the 
purpose of the secession ; but, by proclaiming the principle* 
of Free-soil, it struck the keynote of popular sentiment ; di- 
vided the Democratic party, and let the Whigs into power 
by thirty thousand majority. It made Millard Fillmore 
comptroller, Christopher Morgan secretary of state, Alvah 

' "In the fall of 1847 I was a spectator at the Democratic stat& 
convention, held in Syracuse. The great chiefs of both factions 
were on the ground, and never was there a fiercer, more bitter and 
relentless conflict between the Narragansetts and Pequods than this 
memorable contest between the Barnburners and Hunkers. Silas 
Wright was the idol of the Barnburners. He had died on the 27th 
of the preceding August — less than two weeks before. James S. 
Wadsworth voiced the sentiments of his followers. In the con- 
vention some one spoke of doing justice to Mr. Wright. A Hunker 
sneeringly responded, 'It is too late; he is dead.' Springing upon 
a table Wadsworth made the hall ring as he uttered the defiant 
reply: 'Though it may be too late to do justice to Silas Wright, it. 
is not too late to do justice to his assassins.' The Hunkers laid 
the Wilmot Proviso upon the table, but the Barnburners punished 
them at the election." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 159. 


Hunt treasurer, Ambrose L. Jordan attorney-general, and 
Hamilton Fish lieutenant-governor to fill the vacancy occa- 
sioned by Addison Gardiner's election to the new Court of 
Appeals. The president of this seceders' mass-meeting was 
Churchill C. Cambreling, an old associate of Martin Van 
Buren, but its leader and inspiration was John Van Buren. 
He drafted the address to the people, his eloquence made 
him its chief orator, and his enthusiasm seemed to endow 
him with ubiquity. 

John Van Buren was unlike the ordinary son of a Presi- 
dent of the United States. He did not rely upon the influence 
or the prestige of his father.^ He was able to stand alone — 
a man of remarkable power, who became attorney-general in 
184.5, and for ten years was a marked figure in political 
circles, his bland and convulsing wit enlivening every con- 
vention and adding interest to every campaign. But his 
chief interest was in his profession. He was a lawyer of 
great distinction, the peer and often the opponent of Charles 
O'Conor and William H. Seward. "He possessed beyond any 
man I ever knew," said Daniel Lord, "the power of eloquent, 
illustrative amplification, united with close, flexible logic."* 

John Van Buren had, as well, a picturesque side to his 
life. In college he was expert at billiards, the centre of wit, 
and ihe willing target of beauty. Out of college, from the 
time he danced with the Princess Victoria at a court ball in 
London at the age of twenty-two, to the end of his interesting 

' "There could hardly be a wider contrast between two men than 
the space that divided the Sage of Lindenwald from Prince John. 
In one particular, however, they were alike. Each had that per- 
sonal magnetism that binds followers to leaders with hooks of 
steel. The father was grave, urbane, wary, a safe counsellor, and 
accustomed to an argumentative and deliberate method of address 
that befitted the bar and the Senate. Few knew how able a lawyer 
the elder Van Buren was. The son was enthusiastic, frank, bold, 
and given to wit, repartee, and a style of oratory admirably adapted 
to swaying popular assemblies. The younger Van Buren, too, was 
a sound lawyer." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 175. 

• History of the Bench and Bar of New York, Vol. 1, p. 505. 

1847] JOHN VAN BUKEN 129 

and eventful life, he was known as "Prince John." His re- 
markable gifts opened the door to all that was ultra as well 
as noble. He led in the ballroom, he presided at dinners, he 
graced every forum, and he moved in the highest social cir- 
cles. Men marvelled at his knowledge, at his unfailing 
equanimity, and at his political strength; but even to 
those who were spellbound by his eloquence, or captivated 
by his adroit, skilful conduct of a lawsuit, he was always 
"Prince John." There was not a drop of austerity or intol- 
erance or personal hatred in him. The Dutch blood of his 
father, traced from the Princes of Orange to the days of the 
New Netherland patroons, kept him within the limits of 
moderation if not entirely unspotted, and his finished man- 
ners attracted the common people as readily as they charmed 
the more exclusive. 

John Van Buren's acceptance of Free-soilism did not ema- 
nate from a dislike of slavery; nor did Free-soil principles 
root themselves deeply in his nature. His father had op- 
posed the admission of Texas, and the son, in resentment 
of his defeat, hoping to make an anti-slavery party dominant 
in the State, if not in the nation, proclaimed his opposition 
to the extension of slavery. But, after the compromise 
measures of 1850 had temporarily checked the movement, he 
fell back into the ranks of the Hunkers, aiding President 
Pierce's election, and sustaining the pro-slavery administra- 
tion of Buchanan. In after years Van Buren frequently ex- 
plained his connection with the Free-soil revolt by telling a 
story of the boy who was vigorously removing an overturned 
load of hay at the roadside. Noticing his wild and rapid 
pitching, a passer-by inquired the cause of his haste. The 
boy, wiping the perspiration from his brow as he pointed to 
the pile of hay, replied, "Stranger, dad's under there!" 

But whatever reasons incited John Van Buren to unite 
with the Free-soilers, so long as he advocated their prin- 
ciples, he was the most brilliant crusader who sought to stay 
the aggressiveness of slavery. From the moment he with- 
drew from the Syracuse convention, in the autumn of 1847, 


until he finally accepted the compromise measures of 1850, 
he was looked upon as the hope of the Barnburners and the 
most dangerous foe of the Hunkers. Even Horatio Seymour 
was afraid of him. He did not advocate abolition; he did 
not treat slavery in the abstract; he did not transcend the 
Free-soil doctrine. But he spoke with such power and bril- 
liancy that Henry Wilson, afterward Vice President, de- 
clared him "the bright particular star of the revolt."" He 
was not an impassioned orator. He spoke deliberately, and 
rarely with animation or with gesture; and his voice, high 
pitched and penetrating, was neither mellow nor melodious. 
But he was marvellously pleasing. His perennial wit kept 
his audiences expectant, and his compact, forceful utter- 
ances seemed to break the argument of an opponent as a 
hammer shatters a pane of glass. So great was his popularity 
at this time, that his return to the Democratic party became 
a personal sorrow to every friend of the anti-slavery cause. 
"Indeed, such was the brilliant record he then made," says 
Henry Wilson, "that had he remained true to the principles 
he advocated, he would unquestionably have become one of 
the foremost men of the Republican party, if not its accepted 

Several historic conventions followed the secession of the 
Barnburners. Each faction held a state convention to select 
delegates to the Democratic national convention which met 
in Baltimore on May 22, 1848, and, on the appointed day, 
both Hunkers and Barnburners presented full delegations, 
each claiming admission to the exclusion of the other.^ It 
was an anxious moment for Democracy. New York held the 

' Henry Wilson, Rise and Fall of the Slave Power of the United 
States, Vol. 2, p. 142. 

'Ibid., p. 142. 

'"The Barnburners made the Monumental City lurid -with their 
wrath, frig-htening- the delegates from the back States almost out 
of their wits." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 162. "Or, as 
one man said in a speech, 'the regular delegates might occupy half a 
seat apiece, provided each of them would let a Hunker sit on his 
lap.' "— 76t(J., p. 161. 


key to the election ; without its vote the party could not hope 
to win; and without harmony success was impossible. To 
exclude either faction, therefore, was political suicide, and, 
in the end, the vote was divided equally between them. To 
the politician, anxious for party success and hungry for of- 
fice, perhaps no other compromise seemed possible. But the 
device failed to satisfy either side, and Lewis Cass was nomi- 
nated for President without the participation of the State 
that must elect or defeat him. 

Eeturning home, the Barnburners issued an address, writ- 
ten by Samuel J. Tilden, who fearlessly called upon Demo- 
crats to act independently. This led to the famous conven- 
tion held at Utica in June. Samuel Young presided, 
Churchill C. Cambreling was conspicuous on the stage, 
David Dudley Field read a letter from Martin Van Buren 
condemning the platform and the candidate of the Balti- 
more convention, and Benjamin F. Butler, Preston King, and 
John Van Buren illuminated the principles of the Free-soil 
party in speeches that have seldom been surpassed in politi- 
cal conventions. In the end Martin Van Buren was nomi- 
nated for President. 

This assembly, in the ability and character of its members,, 
contained the better portion of the party. Its attitude was 
strong, defiant, and its only purpose apparently was to cre- 
ate a public sentiment hostile to the extension of slavery. 
Nevertheless, it was divided into two factions, one actuated 
more by a desire to avenge the alleged wrongs of Van Buren, 
than to limit slavery. To this class belonged Churchill C. 
Cambreling, Samuel J. Tilden, John A. Dix, Sanford E. 
Church, Dean Eichmond, John Cochrane, Benjamin F. But- 
ler, and the Van Burens. On the anti-slavery side, Preston 
King, David Dudley Field, James S. Wadsworth, and Wil- 
liam Cullen Bryant were conspicuous. Seven years later, 
these men were quick to aid in the formation of the Eepub- 
lican party ; while the former, for the most part, continued 
with the Democratic party. But, whatever the motives that 
prompted them, their action strengthened the Buffalo con- 


vention^ which met on August 9, 1848, giving an impetus to 
the anti-slavery cause too strong for resentment or revenge 
to guide it. 

There have been many important meetings in the history 
of American politics, but it may well be doubted if any con- 
vention, during the struggle with slavery, ever exalted the 
hearts of those who took part in it more than did this assem- 
bly of fearless representatives of the Free-soil party in Buf- 
falo, the Queen City of the Lakes. The time was ripe for 
action, and on that day in August, men eminent and to grow 
eminent, sought the shade of a great tent on the eastern shore 
of Lake Erie. Among them were Joshua R. Giddings, the 
well-known Abolitionist; Salmon P. Chase, not yet famous, 
but soon to become a United States senator with views of 
slavery in accord with William H. Seward; and Charles 
Francis Adams who had already associated his name with 
that of his illustrious father in the growth of anti-slavery 
opinions in New England. Chase presided over the conven- 
tion and Adams over the mass-meeting. At the outset, it 
was boldly asserted that they had assembled "to secure free 
soil for a free people;" and in closing they thrilled the 
hearts of all hearers with the memorable declaration that 
rang throughout the land like a blast from a trumpet, "We 
inscribe on our banner Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labour, 
and Free Men." It was a remarkable convention in that it 
made no mistakes. Lewis Cass represented the South and its 
purposes, while Zachary Taylor lived in the South and owned 

' "The nomination of Cass for the Presidency by the Democrats 
and Taylor by the Whigs led to the Buffalo convention of 1848. 
Pro-slavery Democrats were there to avenge the wrongs of Martin 
Van Buren. Free-soil Democrats were there to punish the assas- 
sins of Silas Wright. Pro-slavery Whigs were there to strike down 
Taylor because he had dethroned their idol, Henry Clay, in the 
Philadelphia convention. Anti-slavery Whigs were there, breathing 
the spirit of the departed John Quincy Adams. Abolitionists of all 
shades of opinion were present, from the darkest type to those of a 
milder hue, who shared the views of Salmon P. Chase." — H. B. 
Stanton, Random Recollections, pp. 162-63. 


four hundred slaves. Neither of these men could be sup- 
ported ; but, in the end, rather than put a fourth candidate 
into the field, it was resolved unanimously to indorse Martin 
Van Buren for President and Charles Francis Adams for 
Vice President. Daniel Webster ridiculed the idea of "the 
leader of the Free-spoil party becoming the leader of the 
Free-soil party;" but Charles Sumner, whose heart was in 
the cause, declared that "it is not for the Van Buren of 1838 
that we are to vote, but for the Van Buren of to-day — the 
veteran statesman, sagacious, determined, experienced, who, 
at an age when most men are rejoicing to put off their 
armour, girds himself anew and enters the list as a champion 
of freedom."" To give further dignity and importance to the 
Free-soil movement, the nomination of John P. Hale, made 
by the Abolitionists in the preceding November, was with- 
drawn, and John A. Dix, then a Democratic senator, accepted 
the Barnburners' nomination for governor.^" 

"Charles Sumner, Works, Vol. ,2, p. 144. 

"It will be remembered that Van Buren, in his inaugural as 
President, pledged himself to veto any bill for the abolition of 
slavery in the District of Columbia, unless sanctioned by Maryland 
and Virginia. Anti-slavery men took great umbrage to this pledge, 
and while Butler at the Buffalo convention was graphically de- 
scribing how the ex-President, now absorbed in bucolic pursuits 
at his Kinderhook farm, had recently leaped a fence to show his 
visitor a field of sprouting turnips, one of these disgusted Abolition- 
ists abruptly exclaimed, 'Damn his turnips! What are his present 
opinions about the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia?' 
'I was just coming to that subject,' responded the oily Barnburner, 
with a suave bow towards the rufHed Whig. 'Well, you can't be a 
moment too quick in coming to it,' replied the captious inter- 
locutor." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 164. 

" "General Dix disapproved of the design to make separate nomi- 
nations, thinking it unwise, and foreseeing that it would increase 
the difficulty of bringing about a reconciliation. But that he, a 
Democrat of the old school, should find himself associated with 
gentlemen of the Whig party, from whom he differed on almost 
every point, was a painful and distressing surprise. He was willing, 
if it must be so, to go with his own section of the Democratic party, 
though deeming their course not the wisest. But when it came to 

134 THE rREE-SOIL CAMPAIGN [Chap. xi. 

The Hunkers were aghast. The movement that let the 
Whigs into power in 1847 had suddenly become a national 
party, with the most famous and distinguished Democrat at 
its head, while the old issues of internal improvement, the 
tarifif, and the independent treasury were obscured by the 
intensity of the people's opposition to the extension of sla- 
very. The Hunkers controlled the party machinery — the 
Barnburners held the balance of power. To add to the bit- 
terness of the situation, Edwin Croswell, after a quarter 
of a century of leadership, had retired from editorial and 
political life, leaving no one who could fill his place. When 
the Democratic state convention assembled at Syracuse, 
therefore, it spent itself in rhetorical denunciation of the 
rebellious faction, and wasted itself in the selection of Reu- 
ben H. Walworth for governor and Charles O'Conor for lieu- 
tenant-governor. Neither was a popular nomination. Wal- 
worth was the last of the chancellors. He came into notice 
as an ardent Bucktail in the days of DeWitt Clinton, and, 
upon the retirement of Chancellor Kent in 1828 succeeded 
to that important and lucrative oflSce. He was a hard worker 
and an upright judge ; but he did not rank as a great jurist. 
The lawyers thought him slow and crabbed, and his exclusion 
from the oflBce at the age of fifty-nine, after the adoption 
of the new Constitution in 1846, was not regretted. But 
Chancellor Walworth had two traits which made him a 
marked figure in the Commonwealth — an enthusiasm for his 
profession that spared no labour and left no record un- 
searched ; and an enthusiastic love for the Church. 

Of Charles O'Conor's remarkable abilities, mention occurs 
elsewhere. His conservatism made him a Democrat of the 
extreme school. In the Slave Jack case and the Lemmon 
slave case, very famous in their day, he was counsel for the 

an alliance ■with Whigs and Abolitionists he lost all heart in the 
movement. This accounts for his strong expressions in after years 
to justify himself from the charge of being an Abolitionist and 
false to his old faith." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. Dix, Vol. 1, 
p. 239. 

1848] CHAELES O'CONOK 135 

slave-holders; and at the close of the Civil War he became 
the attorney for Jefferson Davis when indicted for treason. 
O'Conor's great power as a speaker added much to the enter- 
tainment of the campaign of 1848, but whether he would 
have beaten his sincere, large-hearted, and affectionate Whig 
opponent had no third party divided the vote, was a mooted 
question at the time, and one usually settled in favour of the 

The Whigs had reason to be hopeful. They had elected 
Young in 1846 by eleven thousand, and, because of the Barn- 
burner secession, had carried the State in 1847 by thirty 
thousand. Everything indicated that their success in 1848 
would be no less sweeping. But they were far from happy. 
Early in June, 1846, long before the capture of Monterey 
and the victory of Buena Vista, the Albany Evening Journal 
had suggested that Za chary Taylor was in the minds of 
many, and in the hearts of more, for President in 1848. Thur- 
low Weed went further. He sent word to the brilliant officer 
that he need not reply to the numerous letters from men of 
all political stripes offering their support, since the presi- 
dential question would take care of itself after his triumph- 
ant return from Mexico. But, in the spring of 1848, the 
question became embarrassing. Taylor was a slave-holder. 
Many northern Whigs were deeply imbued with anti-slavery 
sentiments, and the action of the Free-soilers was increasing 
their sensitiveness. "What plagues me most of all," wrote 
Washington Hunt to Weed, "is to think how I, after all I 
have said against slavery and its extension, am to look the 
Wilmot Proviso people in the face and ask them to vote for a 
Southern slave-holder."^^ Yet Taylor was a conquering hero ; 
and, although little was known of his political sentiments 
or sympathies, it was generally believed the Democrats would 
nominate him for President if the Whigs did not. 

As the year grew older it became apparent that Henry 
Clay was the choice of a large portion of the Whigs of the 
country. Besides, Daniel Webster had reappeared as a can- 
" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 165. 


didate; Winfleld Scott had the support of his former New 
York friends; and Horace Greeley, "waging a quixotic war 
against heroes," as Seward expressed it, was sure of defeat- 
ing Taylor even if shaken in his confidence of nominating 
Clay. "I hope you see your way through this diflSculty," Hunt 
again wrote Weed. "You are like a deacon I know. His wife 
said it always came natural to him to see into the doctrine 
of election."^^ Weed believed that Zachary Taylor, if not 
nominated by the Whigs, would be taken up by the Demo- 
crats, and he favoured the Southerner because the election 
of Jackson and Harrison convinced him that winning battles 
opened a sure way to the White House. But Thurlow Weed 
was not a stranger to Taylor's sympathies. He had satisfied 
himself that the bluff old warrior, though .a native of Vir- 
ginia and a Louisiana slave-holder, favoured domestic manu- 
factures, opposed the admission of Texas, and had been a 
lifelong admirer of Henry Clay ; and, with this information, 
he went to work, cautiously as was his custom, but with 
none the less energy and persistence. Among other things, 
he visited Daniel Webster at Marshfield to urge him to ac- 
cept the nomination for Vice President. The great states- 
man recalled Weed's similar errand in 1839, and the mem- 
ory of Harrison's sudden death now softened him into a 
receptive mood; but the inopportune coming of Fletcher 
Webster, who reported that his father's cause was making 
tremendous progress, changed consent into disapproval, and 
for the second time in ten years Webster lost the opportunity 
of becoming President. 

When the Whig national convention met in Philadelphia 
on June 8, Thurlow Weed did not doubt the ability of Tay- 
lor's friends to nominate him; but, in that event, several 
prominent delegates threatened to bolt. It was an anxious 
moment. The success of the Whig party and the ascendancy 
of Weed's leadership in New York were at stake. It was 
urged by the anti-slavery men with great vehemence that 
Taylor was a "no-party man," and that as a born Southerner 
" Thurlow Weed Bames, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 167. 


and large slave-holder he could not be trusted on the slavery 
question. But when the five candidates were finally placed 
in nomination, and a single ballot taken, it was found, as 
Weed had predicted, that the hero of Buena Vista was the 
one upon whom the Whigs could best unite. With few excep- 
tions, the friends of Clay, Webster, Scott, and John M. Clay- 
ton could go to Taylor better than to another, and on the 
fourth ballot, amidst anger and disappointment, the latter 
was nominated by sixty majority. 

For the moment, the oflSce of Vice President seemed to go 
a-begging, as it did in the convention of 1839 after the de- 
feat of Henry Clay. Early in the year Seward's friends urged 
his candidacy ; but he gave it no encouragement, preferring 
to continue the practice of his profession, which was now 
large and lucrative. John Young, who thought he would like 
the place, sent a secret agent to Mexico with letters to Tay- 
lor. Young's record as governor, however, did not commend 
him for other honours, and the scheme was soon abandoned. 
As the summer advanced Abbott Lawrence of Massachusetts 
became the favourite ; and for a time it seemed as if his nomi- 
nation would be made by acclamation; but, after Taylor's 
nomination and Clay's defeat, many delegates promptly de- 
clared they would not have "cotton at both ends of the 
ticket" — referring to Taylor as a grower and Lawrence as a 
manufacturer of cotton. In this crisis, and after a stormy 
recess, John A. Collier, a leading lawyer of Binghamton, who 
had served in the Twenty-second Congress and one year as 
state comptroller, suddenly took the platform. In a stirring 
speech, in which he eloquently pictured the sorrow and bit- 
terness of Clay's friends, he hopefully announced that he had 
a peace-ofifering to present, which, if accepted, would, in a 
measure, reconcile the supporters of all the defeated candi- 
dates and prevent a fatal breach in the party. Then, to the 
astonishment of the convention, he named Millard Fillmore 
for Vice President, and asked a unanimous response to his 
nomination. This speech, though not pitched in a very ex- 
alted key, was so subtile and telling, that it threw the con- 


Tention into applause. Collier recalled Fillmore's fidelity to 
his party ; his satisfactory record in Congress, especially dur- 
ing the passage of the tarifif act of 1842 ; his splendid, if un- 
successful canvass, as a candidate for governor in 1844, and 
his recent majority of thirty-eight thousand for comptroller, 
the largest ever given any candidate in the State. At the 
time, it looked as if a unanimous response might be made; 
but the friends of Lawrence rallied, and at the close of the 
ballot Fillmore had won by only six votes. For Collier, how- 
ever, it was a great triumph, giving him a reputation as a 
speaker that later efiforts did not sustain. 

To anti-slavery delegates, the Philadelphia convention was 
a disappointment. It seemed to lack courage and to be with- 
out convictions or principles. Like its predecessor in 1839 
it adopted no resolutions and issued no address. The can- 
didates became its platform. In voting down a resolution 
in favour of the Wilmot Proviso, many delegates believed 
the party would prove faithless on the great issue; and fif- 
teen of them, led by Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, pro- 
posed a national convention of all persons opposed to the 
extension of slavery, to be held at Buffalo early in August. 
"It is fortunate for us," wrote Seward, "that the Democratic 
party is divided."" But the New Yorkers, some of whom 
found encouragement in the nomination of Fillmore, who 
had thus far been inflexible upon the slavery question, pa- 
tiently waited for the result of the Whig state convention, 
which met at Utica on the 14th of September. By this time, 
as Seward and Weed predicted, Taylor's nomination had 
grown popular. Greeley, soon to be a candidate for Con- 
gress, advised the Tribune's readers to vote the Whig ticket, 
while the action of the Buffalo convention, though it 
united the anti-slavery vote, assured a division of the 
Democratic party more than sufficient to compensate for any 
Whig losses. Under these circumstances, the Utica conven- 
tion assembled with reasonable hopes of success. It lacked 
the spirit of the band of resolute Free-soilers, who met in 
" F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 71. 

1848] THE COMET OF A SEASON - 139 

the same place on the same day and nominated John A. Dix 
for governor and Seth M. Gates of Wyoming for lieutenant- 
governor ; but it gave no evidence of the despair that had set- 
tled upon the convention of the Hunkers in the preceding 

One feature of the Whig state convention is worthy of 
notice. The great influence of the Anti-Renters who held 
the balance of power in the convention of 1846 had disap- 
peared. The Governor's anti-rent friends urged his renomi- 
nation with the earnest voice of a brave people; but John 
Young was destined to be the comet of a season only. His 
course in respect to appointments and to the Mexican War 
had alienated Thurlow Weed, and his pardon of the anti- 
rent rioters estranged the conservative Whigs. Although a 
shrewd politician, with frank and affable manners, as an 
administrative officer he lacked the tact displayed so abund- 
antly as a legislator; and its absence seriously handicapped 
him. Twenty delegates measured his strength in a conven- 
tion that took forty-nine votes to nominate. Under the Tay- 
lor administration, Young received an appointment as as- 
sistant treasurer in New York City — the office given to Wil- 
liam C. Bouck in 1846 — but his career may be said to have 
closed the moment he promised to pardon a lot of murderous 
rioters to secure an election as governor. With that, he 
passed out of the real world of state-craft into the class of 
politicians whose ambition and infirmities have destroyed 
their usefulness. He died in April, 1852, at the age of fifty. 
• Hamilton Fish was the favourite candidate for governor 
in the Utica convention. His sympathies leaned toward the 
conservatives of his party ; but the moderation of his speech 
and his conciliatory manners secured the good wishes of both 
factions, and he received seventy-six votes on the first ballot. 
Fish was admittedly one of the most popular young men in 
New York City. He had never sought or desired oflfice. In 
1842, the friends of reform sent him to Congress from a 
strong Democratic district, and in 1846, after repeatedly and 
peremptorily declining, the Whig convention, to save the 


party from disruption, compelled him to take the nomination 
for lieutenant-governor on the ticket with John Young. In 
1847, after Addison Gardiner, by his appointment to the 
Court of Appeals, had vacated the lieutenant-governorship, 
the convention, in resentment of Fish's defeat by the Anti- 
Renters, again forced his nomination for the same office, and 
his election followed by thirty thousand majority. Fish was 
now thirty-nine years old, with more than two-score and five 
years to live. He was to become a United States senator, and 
to serve, for eight years, with distinguished ability, as 
secretary of state in the Cabinet of President Grant; 
yet, in all that period, he never departed from the sim- 
ple, sincere life that he was living in September, 1848. 
Writing of him in the Tribune, on the day after his nomina- 
tion for governor, Horace Greeley voiced the sentiment of 
men irrespective of party. "Wealthy without pride, generous 
without ostentation, simple in manners, blameless in life, and 
accepting office with no other aspiration than that of making 
power subserve the common good of his fellow citizens, Ham- 
ilton Fish justly and eminently enjoys the confidence and es- 
teem of all who know him."^* 

On the first ballot, George W. Patterson of Chautauqua 
received eighty-four out of ninety-six votes for lieutenant- 
governor. In his gentle manners, simple generosity, and mod- 
eration of speech, Patterson was not unlike Hamilton Fish. 
He was a loyal friend of Seward, a constant correspondent 
of Weed, and a member of the inner circle of governing 
W^higs; he had been prominent as an Anti-Mason, satisfac- 
tory as a legislator, and impartial as a speaker of the As- 
sembly; he was now recognised as a far-sighted, wise, and 
cautious politician. In guiding the convention to the selec- 
tion of Hamilton Fish and George W. Patterson, it was ad- 
mitted that Thurlow Weed's leadership vindicated his 

The political contest in New York, unlike that in the South 
and in some Western States, presented the novel feature of 
"New York Triliunc, September 15, 1848. 


three powerful parties in battle array. The Free-soil faction 
was a strange mixture. Besides Barnburners, there were 
Conscience Whigs, Proviso Democrats, Land Reformers, 
Workingmen, and Abolitionists — a formidable combination 
of able and influential men who wielded the power of abso- 
lute disinterestedness, and who kept step with John Van Bu- 
ren's trenchant and eloquent speeches which resounded 
through the State. Van Buren was the accepted leader, and 
in this campaign he reached the height of his reputation. His 
features were not striking, but in person he was tall, sym- 
metrical, and graceful; and no one in the State could hold 
an audience with such delightful oratory and lofty eloquence. 

The ablest Whig to oppose him was William H. Seward, 
who frequently followed him in localities where Whigs were 
likely to act with the Free-soil party. On the slavery ques- 
tion, Seward held views identical with those expressed by 
Van Buren; but he insisted that every Whig vote cast for 
the third party was only a negative protest against the sla- 
very party. Real friends of emancipation must not be content 
with protests. They must act wisely and efficiently. "For 
myself," he declared, "I shall cast my suffrage for General 
Taylor and Millard Fillmore, freely and conscientiously, on 
precisely the same grounds on which I have hitherta 

As in former presidential years, each party had its flags 
and banners, its drums and cannon, its bewildering variety 
of inscriptions and mottoes, and its multitude of speakers, 
charging and countercharging inconsistencies and maladmin- 
istration. The Whigs accused Cass with having printed two 
biographies, one for the South, in which he appeared as a 
slavery extensionist, and one for the North, in which he fig- 
ured as a Wilmot Provisoist. To this accusation. Democrats 
retorted that the Whigs opposed annexation in the North 
and favoured it in the South ; denounced the war and nomi- 
nated its leading general ; voted down the Wilmot Proviso in. 
June, and upheld it in July. 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. B. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 77. 


In New York, New England, and in some parts of the 
West, the clear, comprehensive, ringing platform of the anti- 
slavery party had fixed the issue. Audiences became restless 
if asked to listen to arguments upon other topics. Opposi- 
tion to slavery was, at last, respectable in politics. For the 
first time, none of his party deprecated Seward's advanced 
utterances upon this question, and from August to Novem- 
ber he freely voiced his opinions. The series of professional 
achievements which began with the Freeman case was still in 
progress ; but he laid them aside that he might pass through 
his own State into New England, and from thence through 
New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, into Ohio, where the 
result, as shown by the October election, was to be very 

Seward was now in the fulness of his intellectual power. 
There was nothing sensational, nothing unfit in his speeches. 
He believed that the conscience of the people was a better 
guide than individual ambitions, and he inspired them with 
lofty defeires and filled them with sound principles of action. 
"There are two antagonistic elements of society in America," 
said he, in his speech at Cleveland, "freedom and slavery. 
Freedom is in harmony with our system of government and 
with the spirit of the age, and is, therefore, passive and quies- 
cent. Slavery is in conflict with that system, with justice, 
and with humanity, and is, therefore, organised, defensive, 
active, and perpetually aggressive. Freedom insists on the 
emancipation and elevation of labour. Slavery demands a 
soil moistened with tears and blood. These elements divide 
and classify the American people into two parties. Each of 
these parties has its court and sceptre. The throne of the 
one is amid the rocks of the Allegheny Mountains ; the throne 
of the other is reared on the sands of South Carolina. One 
of these parties, the party of slavery, regards disunion as 
among the means of defence and not always the last to be 
employed. The other maintains the Union of the States, one 
and inseparable, now and forever, as the highest duty of the 
American people to themselves, to posterity, to mankind. It 


is written in the Constitution that five slaves shall count 
equal to three freemen as a basis of representation, and it is 
written also, in violation of the Divine Law, that we shall 
surrender the fugitive slave who takes refuge at our fireside 
from his relentless pursuers. 'What, then,' you say; 'can 
Bothing he done for freedom because the public conscience 
is inert?' Yes, much can be done — everything can be done. 
Slavery can be limited to its present bounds; it can be 
ameliorated; it can and must be abolished, and you and I 
can and must do it."^® 

This presented an epitome of Seward's views when spoken 
without restraint. His friends thought them "bold" and his 
opponents denounced them as "most perverse and dogmatic," 
but, whether bold or perverse, he devoted the chief part of 
every speech to them. He was not without humour, man's 
highest gift, but he had more of humanity ; he spoke seriously 
and solemnly, usually to grave, sober, reflecting men of all 
professions and parties; and, at the end of two hours, dis- 
missed them as if from an evening church service. At Bos- 
ton, a Whig member of Congress from Illinois spoke with 
him, principally upon the maladministration of the Demo- 
crats and the inconsistencies of Lewis Cass. After the meet- 
ing, while sitting in their hotel, the congressman, with a 
thoughtful air, said to Seward : "I have been thinking about 
what you said in your speech to-night. I reckon you are 
right. We have got to deal with this slavery question, and 
got to give much more attention to it hereafter than we have 
been doing."^' This was Seward's first meeting with Abra- 
ham Lincoln. The former was then forty-seven years old, the 
latter thirty-nine. 

In New York, the campaign could have but one outcome. 
The Free-soil faction divided the Democratic vote nearly by 
two, giving Van Buren 120,000, Cass 114,000, and Taylor 
218,000. The returns for governor varied but slightly from 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 86. 
" Ibid., p. 80. 


these figures.^' In the country at large Taylor secured one 
hundred and sixty-three electoral votes and Cass one hun- 
dred and twenty-seven. But, a Whig majority of one hun- 
dred and four on joint ballot in the Legislature, and the 
election of thirty -one out of thirty-four congressmen, showed 
the wreckage of a divided Democracy in New York. The 
Hunkers elected only six assemblymen; the Free-soilers se- 
cured fourteen. The Whigs had one hundred and eight. Re- 
turns from all the counties and cities in no wise differed. 
The Hunkers had been wiped out. If the Free-soilers did not 
get office, they had demonstrated their strength, and exulted 
in having routed their adversaries. Although Martin Van 
Buren was not to leave his retirement at Lindenwald, the 
brilliant son had avenged his father's wrongs by dashing 
Lewis Cass rudely and ruthlessly to the ground. 

"Hamilton Fish, 218,776; John A. Dix, 122,811; Reuben H. Wal- 
worth, 116,811; William Goodell, 1593.— Cm? List, State of New Tork 
(1887), p. 166. 



The Legislature of 1849 became the scene of a contest that 
ended in a rout. John A. Dix's term as United States sena- 
tor expired on March 4, and the flght for the succession 
began the moment the Whig members knew they had a 

William H. Seward's old enemies seemed ubiquitous. They 
had neither forgotten his distribution of patronage, nor for- 
given his interest in slaves and immigrants. To make their 
opposition effective, John A. Collier became a candidate. 
Collier wanted to be governor in 1838, when Weed threw the 
nomination to Seward; and, although his election as comp- 
troller in 1841 had restored friendly relations with Weed, 
he had never forgiven Seward. It added strength to the coal- 
ition, moreover, that Fillmore and Collier were now bosom 
friends. The latter's speech at Philadelphia had made the 
Buffalonian Vice President, and his following naturally fa- 
voured Collier. It was a noisy company, and, for a time, its 
opposition seemed formidable. 

"Fillmore and Collier came down the river in the boat 
with me," wrote Seward from New York on November 16, 
1848. "The versatile people were full of demonstrations of 
affection to the Vice President, and Mr. Collier divided the 
honours. The politicians of New York are engaged in plans 
to take possession of General Taylor before he comes to 
Washington. Weed is to be supplanted, and that not for 
his own sake but for mine."^ As the days passed intrigue 
• F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 87. 


became bolder. Hamilton Fish, Wasliington Hunt, and other 
prominent members of the party, were offered the senator- 
ship. "I wish you could see the letters I get," Hunt wrote 
to Weed. "If I wanted to excite your sympathy they would 
be sufficient. Some say Seward will be elected. More say 
neither Seward nor Collier will be chosen, but a majority are 
going for a third man by way of compromise, and my con- 
sent is invoked to be number three."^ Then came the letter, 
purporting to be written by Seward, declaring that "Collier 
must be defeated, or our influence with the Administration 
will be curtailed. You must look to your members, and see 
the members from Cattaraugus, if possible. I think Patterson 
will take care of Chautauqua."^ Out of this forgery grew 
an acrimonious manifesto from Collier, who professed to be- 
lieve that Seward was giving personal attention to the work 
of making himself senator. In the midst of this violent and 
bitter canvass, Horace Greeley wrote one of his characteristic 
editorials. "We care not who may be the nominee," said 
the Tribune of January 24, 1849. "We shall gladly coincide 
in the fair expression of the will of the majority of the party, 
but we kindly caution those who disturb and divide us, that 
their conduct will result only in the merited retribution 
which an indignant people will visit upon those who prosti- 
tute their temporary power to personal pique or selfish 

Seward was continuously in Baltimore and Washington, 
studying briefs that had accumulated in his long absence 
during the campaign; but Weed, the faithful friend, like a 
sentinel on the watch-tower, kept closely in touch with the 
political situation. "The day before the legislative caucus," 
wrote an eye-witness, "the Whig members of the Legislature 
gathered around the editor of the Evening Journal for coun- 
sel and advice. It resembled a President's levee. He re- 
mained standing in the centre of the room, conversing with 
those about him and shaking hands with new-comers; but 

' Thurlow Weed Barnes, L^fe of Thnrlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 173. 
=a New York Herald, December 1, 1848. 

1849] A GEEAT VICTOET 147 

there was nothing in his manner to indicate the slightest 
mystery or excitement so common with politicians."' 

The Whig senators met in caucus on January 29, and by a 
vote of twelve to eleven decided to join the Assembly. Then 
the fight began. William S. Johnson, a Whig senator from 
New York City, declared that he would neither vote for Sew- 
ard in caucus nor support him in the Legislature. "It would 
be equivalent," he continued, "to throwing a firebrand into 
the South and aiding in the dissolution of the Whig party 
and of the Union." Thereupon the eleven withdrew from fur- 
ther participation in the proceedings. When the caucus of 
the two houses convened, fourteen members declared it in- 
expedient to support either Seward or Collier ; but an infor- 
mal ballot gave Seward eighty-eight votes and Collier twelve, 
with twenty-two scattering. Three days later, on joint bal- 
lot, Seward received one hundred and twenty-one out of one 
hundred and thirty Whig votes. "We were always confident 
that the caucus could have but one result," said the Tribune, 
"and the lofty anticipations which the prospect of Seward's 
election has excited will not be disappointed." 

Successful as Seward had been in his profession since 
leaving the office of governor, he was not entirely happy. "I 
look upon my life, busy as it is, as a waste," he wrote, in 
1847. "I live in a world that needs my sympathies, but I 
have not even time nor opportunity to do good."* His warm 
and affectionate heart seemed to envy the strife and obloquy 
that came to champions of freedom ; yet his published corre- 
spondence nowhere directly indicates a desire to return to 
public life. "You are not to suppose me solicitous on the 
subject that drags me so unpleasantly before the public," he 
wrote Weed on January 26, 1849, three days before the cau- 
cus. "I have looked at it in all its relations, and cannot 
satisfy myself that it would be any better for me to succeed 
than to be beaten."" This assumed indifference, however, 

' Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlotc Weed, Vol. 3, p. 174. 
« F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 56. 
'lUd., p. 97. 


was written with a feeling of absolute confidence that he 
was to succeed, a confidence that brought with it great con- 
tent, since the United States Senate offered the "opportu- 
nity" for which he sighed in his despondent letter of 1847. 
On the announcement of his election, conveyed to him by 
wire at Washington, he betrayed no feeling except one of 
humility. "I tremble," he wrote his wife, "when I think of 
the diflSculty of realising the expectations which this canvass 
has awakened in regard to my abilities."® To Weed, he 
added : "I recall with fresh gratitude your persevering and 
magnanimous friendship."' 

From the outset, difficulties confronted the new senator. 
The question of limiting slavery excited the whole country, 
and one holding his views belonged in the centre of the strug- 
gle. But strife for office gave him more immediate embar- 
rassment. Apprehensive of party discord, Thurlow Weed, at 
a dinner given the Vice President and Senator, had arranged 
for conferences between them upon important appointments 
within the State; but Seward's first knowledge of the New 
York custom-house appointments came to him in an execu- 
tive session for their confirmation. Seward, as Lincoln after- 
ward said, "was a man without gall," and he did not openly 
resent the infraction of the agreement; but when Weed, upon 
reaching Washington, discovered that Fillmore had the ear 
of the simple and confiding President, he quickly sought the 
Vice President. Fillmore received him coldly. From that 
moment began an estrangement between Weed and the Buf- 
falo statesman which was to last until both were grown gray 
and civil war had obliterated differences of political senti- 
ment. For twenty years, their intimacy had been uninter- 
rupted and constantly strengthening. Even upon the slavery 
question their views coincided, and, although Fillmore chafed 
under his growing preference for Seward and the latter's evi- 
dent intellectual superiority, he had exhibited no impatience 
toward Weed. But Fillmore was now Vice President, with 
aspirations for the Presidency, and he saw in Seward a for- 

' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 98. 
'76id., p. 99. 


midable rival who would have the support of Weed when- 
ever the Senator needed it. He rashly made up his mind, 
therefore, to end their relationship. 

With Taylor, Weed was at his ease. The President re- 
membered the editor's letter written in 1846, and what Weed 
now asked he quickly granted. When Weed complained, 
therefore, that the Vice President was filling federal oflBces 
with his own friends, the President dropped Fillmore and 
turned to the Senator for suggestions. Seward accepted the 
burden of looking after patronage. "I detest and loathe 
this running to the President every day to protest against 
this man or that,"* he wrote; but the President cheerfully 
responded to his requests. "If the country is to be benefited 
by our services," he said to the Secretary of the Treasury, 
"it seems to me that you and I ought to remember those to 
whose zeal, activity, and influence we are indebted for our 

While Weed employed his time in displacing Hunker ofQce- 
holders with Whigs, the Democratic party was trying to re- 
unite. It called for a bold hand. John Van Buren, with a 
courage born of genius, had struck it a terrible blow in the 
face of tremendous odds, the effect of which was as gratifying 
to the Barnburners as it was disastrous to the Hunkers. 
But, in 1849, the party professed to believe that a union of 
the factions would result in victory, since their aggregate 
vote in 1848 exceeded the Whig vote by sixteen thousand. It 
is diflflcult to realise the arguments which persuaded the 
Barnburners to rejoin their adversaries whom they had de- 
clared, in no measured terms, to be guilty of the basest con- 
duct ; but, after infinite labour, Horatio Seymour established 
constructive harmony and practical co-operation. "We are 
asked to compromise our principles," said John Van Buren. 
"The day of compromises is past; but, in regard to candi- 
dates for state offices, we are still a. commercial people. We 
will unite with our late antagonists."" 

•p. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 113. 

• Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 175. 

" H. B. StantoD, Random Recollections, p. 165. 


Seymour and Van Buren did not unite easily. From the 
first they were rivals. As an orator, Seymour was the more 
persuasive, logical, and candid — Van Buren the more witty, 
sarcastic, and brilliant. Seymour was conciliatory — ^Van Bu- 
ren aggressive. Indeed, they had little in common save their 
rare mental and social gifts, and that personal magnetism 
which binds followers with hooks of steel. But they stood 
now at the head of their respective factions. When Van 
Buren, therefore, finally consented to join Seymour in a 
division of the spoils, the two wings of the party quickly 
coalesced in the fall of 1849 for the election of seven state 
oflacers. The Free-soil faction professed to retain its prin- 
ciples ; and, by placing several Abolitionists upon the ticket, 
nine-tenths of that party also joined the combination. But 
the spirit of the Free-soiler was absent. The man whose 
genius and whose eloquence had been the most potent factor 
in discrediting the Hunkers now had no anti-slavery 
speeches to make and no anti-slavery resolutions to present. ; 
John Van Buren's identification with the great movement, \ 
which he prophesied would stand so strong and work such 
wonders, was destined, after he had avenged the insult to 
his father, to vanish like a breath. Nor did the coalition of 
Hunkers, Barnburners, and Abolitionists prove so numerous 
or so solid that it could sweep the State. It did, indeed, 
carry the Assembly by two majority, and with the help of a 
portion of the Anti-Renters, who refused to support their 
own ticket, it elected four minor state ofQcers; but the 
Whigs held the Senate, and, with majorities ranging from 
fifteen hundred to five thousand, chose the comptroller, the 
secretary of state, and the treasurer. Washington Hunt, the 
popular Whig candidate for comptroller, led the ticket by 
nearly six thousand, a triumph that was soon to bring him 
higher honours. 

The Whigs, however, were to have their day of trouble. 
The election of Taylor and Fillmore had fired the Southern 
heart with zeal to defend slavery. More than eighty mem- 
bers of Congress issued an address, drawn by John C. 


Calhoun, rebuking the agitation of the slavery question, in- 
sisting upon their right to take slaves into the territories, 
and complaining of the difficulty of recovering fugitives. The 
Virginia Legislature affirmed that the adoption and at- 
tempted enforcement of the Wilmot Proviso would be re- 
sisted to the last extremity, and that the abolition of slavery 
in the District of Columbia would be a direct attack upon the 
institution of the Southern States. These resolutions were 
indorsed by Democratic conventions, approved at public 
meetings, and amplified by state legislatures. In Missouri, 
Tennessee, and Kentucky the feeling quickly reached fever 
heat; in the cotton States sentiment boldly favoured "A 
Southern Confederacy." Sectional interest melted party 
lines. "The Southern Whigs want the great question settled 
in such a manner as shall not humble and exasperate the 
South," said the New York Tribune; "the Southern Demo- 
crats want it so settled as to conduce to the extension of 
the power and influence of slavery." 

In the midst of this intense southern feeling Henry Clay, 
from his place in the United States Senate, introduced the 
historic resolutions which bear his name, proposing an ami- 
cable adjustment of all questions growing out of the subject 
of slavery. This series of compromises was to admit Cali- 
fornia, establish territorial governments in the regions ac- 
quired from Mexico without provision for or against slavery, 
pay the debt and fix the western boundary of Texas, declare 
it inexpedient to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, 
deny the right of Congress to obstruct the slave trade be- 
tween States, and to enact a more stringent fugitive slave 
law. It was in January, 1850, that Clay opened the memo- 
rable debate upon these resolutions, which continued eight 
months and included Webster's great speech of the 7th of 
March. When the debate ended in September Zachary Taylor 
was dead, Millard Fillmore was President, a new Cabinet 
had been appointed, slavery remained undisturbed in the 
District of Columbia, Mexico and Utah had become terri- 
tories open to slave-holders, and a new fugitive slave law 


bore the approval of the new Chief Executive. During these 
months the whole country had been absorbed in events at 
Washington. Private letters, newspapers, public meetings, 
and state legislatures echoed the speeches of the three dis 
tinguished Senators who had long been in the public eye, 
and who, it was asserted at the time, were closing their life 
work in saving the Union. 

In this discussion, Daniel S. Dickinson favoured compro- 
mise; William H. Seward stood firmly for his anti-slavery 
convictions. The latter spoke on the 11th of March. He op- 
posed the fugitive slave law because "we cannot be true 
Christians or real freemen if we impose on another a chain 
that we defy all human power to lay on ourselves ;"" he de- 
clared for the abolition of slavery in the District of Colum- 
bia, "and if I shall be asked what I did to embellish the 
capital of my country, I will point to her freemen and say — 
these are the monuments of my munificence ;" he antagonised 
the right to take slaves into new territories, aflBrming that 
the Constitution devoted the domain to union, to justice, and 
to liberty. "But there is a higher law than the Constitu- 
tion," he said, "which regulates our authority over the do- 
main, and devotes it to the same noble purposes." In treat- 
ing of threats of disunion he looked with a prophet's eye 
fourteen years into the future. That vision revealed border 
warfare, kindred converted into enemies, onerous taxes, 
death on the field and in the hospital, and conscription to 
maintain opposing forces. "It will then appear that the 
question of dissolving the Union is a complex question ; that 
it embraces the fearful issue whether the Union shall stand 
and slavery be removed by gradual, voluntary effort, and 
with compensation, or whether the Union shall be dissolved 
and civil war ensue, bringing on violent but complete and im- 
mediate emancipation. We are now arrived at that stage of 
our national progress when that crisis can be foreseen — 
when we must foresee it."^* 

A less fearless and determined nature must have been 
^P. W. Seward, Life ofW. B. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 126. "J6id., p. 127. 

1850] THE HIGHER LAW 15a 

overwhelmed by the criticism, the censure, and the insulting 
sneers which this speech provoked. Southern feeling domi- 
nated the Senate chamber. Many northern men, sincerely 
desirous of limiting slavery, preferred giving up the Wilmot 
Proviso for the sake of peace. Thousands of Whigs regarded 
dissent from Clay and Webster, their time-honoured leaders, 
as bold and presumptuous. In reviewing Seward's speech, 
these people pronounced it pernicious, unpatriotic, and 
wicked, especially since "the higher law" theory, taken in 
connection with his criticism of the fugitive slave law, im- 
plied that a humane and Christian people could not or would 
not obey it. But the Auburn statesman resented nothing and 
retracted nothing. "With the single exception of the argu- 
ment in poor Freeman's case," he wrote, "it is the only 
speech I ever made that contains nothing I could afford to 
strike out or qualify."^* 

But Seward's speech did not influence votes. Clay's com- 
promises passed amidst the wildest outbursts of popular en- 
thusiasm. They appealed to a majority of both the great 
parties as a final settlement of the slavery question. In New 
York and other cities throughout the State, flags were 
hoisted, salutes fired, joy bells rung, illuminations flamed at 
night, and speakers at mass-meetings congratulated their fel- 
low citizens upon the wisdom of a President and a Congress 
that had happily averted the great peril of disunion. 

These exhibitions of gratitude were engrossing the atten- 
tion of the people when the Whig state convention met at 
Utica on the 26th of September, 1850. Immediately, the ap- 
proval of Seward's course assumed supreme importance. 
Unusual excitement had attended the selection of delegates. 
The new administration became aggressive. No secret was 
made of its purpose to crush Thurlow Weed; and when the 
convention assembled, Hugh Maxwell, collector of the port of 
New York, and John Young, sub-treasurer, were there to 
control it. A test vote for temporary chairman disclosed 
sixty-eight Radicals and forty-one Conservatives present, but 
" F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 129. 


in the interest of harmony Francis Granger became the 
permanent president. 

Granger was a man of honour and a man of intellect, 
whose qualities of fairness and fitness for public life have al- 
ready been described. When he entered Harrison's Cabinet 
in 1S41, as postmaster-general, the South classed him as an 
Abolitionist; when he left Congress in 1843, in the fulness 
of his intellectual strength, his home at Canandaigua became 
the centre of an admiring group of Whigs who preferred 
the lead of Clay and the conservative policy of Webster. He 
now appeared as an ally of President Fillmore. It was nat- 
ural, perhaps, that in appointing a committee on resolutions, 
liranger should give advantage of numbers to his own fac- 
tion, but the Radicals were amazed at the questionable ac- 
tion of his committee. It delayed its report upon the pretext 
of not being ready, and then, late in the evening, in the ab- 
sence of many delegates, presented what purported to be a 
unanimous expression, in which Seward was left practically 
without mention. As the delegates listened in profound 
silence the majority became painfully aware that something 
was wanting, and, before action upon it could be taken, they 
forced an adjournment by a vote of flfty-six to fifty-one. 

The next morning the Radicals exhibited a desire for less 
harmony and more justice. By a vote of seventy-three to 
forty-six the original resolutions were recommitted to an en- 
larged committee, and after nominating Washington Hunt 
for governor and George J. Cornwell for lieutenant-gover- 
nor, substitute resolutions were adopted by a vote of seventy- 
four to forty-two. One difference between the original and 
the substitute centred in the organisation of new territories. 
The majority opposed any surrender or waiver of the exclu- 
sion of slavery in any act establishing a regular civil organ- 
isation ; the minority thought that, since it was impossible to 
secure the Wilmot Proviso, an insistence upon which would 
prevent any territorial organisation, it would be better to 
organise them without it, relying upon nature and the known 
disposition of the inhabitants to follow the lead of Call- 


fornia. This difference, however, could probably have been 
healed had the Radicals not insisted that "the thanks of the 
Whig party are especially due to William H. Seward for the 
signal ability and fidelity with which he sustained those be- 
loved principles of public policy so long cherished by the 
Whigs of the Empire State, expressed in state and county 
conventions as we^l as in the votes and instructions of the 
state legislature." ^ Upon this resolution the Conservatives 
demanded a roll call, and when its adoption, by the surpris- 
ing vote of seventy-flve to forty, was announced, the minority, 
amidst the wildest excitement, left the hall in a body, fol- 
lowed by Francis Granger, whose silver gray hair gave a 
name to the seceders. Their withdrawal was not a surprise. 
Like the secession of the Barnburners three years before, 
loud threats preceded action. Indeed, William A. Duer, the 
Oswego congressman, admitted travelling from Washington 
to Syracuse with instructions from Fillmore to bolt the ap- 
proval of Seward. But the secession seemed to disturb only 
the Silver-Grays themselves, who now drafted an address to 
the Whigs of the State and called a new convention to as- 
semble at Utica on October 17. 

The Democrats in their state convention, which met at 
Syracuse on September 11, repeated the policy of conciliation 
so skilfully engineered in 1849 by Horatio Seymour. They 
received Barnburner delegates, they divided the ofQces, and 
they allowed John Van Buren to rule. It mattered not what 
were the principles of the captivating Prince and his fol- 
lowers so long as they accepted "the recent settlement by 
Congress of questions which have unhappily divided the peo- 
ple of these States." Thus the Free-soil Barnburners disap- 
peared as a political factor. Some of them continued to 
avow their anti-slavery principles, but no one had the temer- 
ity to mention them in convention. Men deemed it politic 
and prudent to affect to believe that the slavery question, 
which had threatened to disturb the national peace, was 
finally laid at rest. The country so accepted it, trade and 
commerce demanded it, and old political leaders conceded 


it. In this frame of mind, delegates found it easy to nomi- 
nate Horatio Seymour for governor and Sanford E. Church 
for lieutenant-governor. The next day the Abolitionists, 
tired of their union with Hunkers and Barnburners, nomi- 
nated William L. Chaplin and Joseph Plumb. 

The convention of the Silver-Grays, held at Utica in Octo- 
ber, did not exalt its members. It was simply a protest. A 
lion-hearted man had presumed to voice his convictions, and, 
although the convention favoured exercising a liberal spirit 
of toleration toward the compromise measures, it refused to 
exercise such a spirit toward William H. Seward, or to tol- 
erate him at all. It gave the President a flattering indorse- 
ment for his approval of the fugitive slave law, it accepted 
Washington Hunt as its nominee for governor, and 
it listened to several addresses, among them one from James 
O. Putnam of Buffalo; but the proceedings lacked the en- 
thusiasm that springs from a clear principle, backed by a 
strong and resolute band of followers. The speech of Put- 
nam, however, attracted wide attention. Putnam was a 
young man then, less than thirty-three years old, passion- 
ately devoted to Daniel Webster, and a personal friend of 
Millard Fillmore. As a speaker he was polished, smooth, 
and refined, and even when impassioned kept his passion well 
within conventional bounds. On this occasion his mellow 
and far-reaching voice, keyed to the pitch of sustained 
rhetoric, dropped his well-balanced and finely moulded sen- 
tences into the convention amidst hearty applause. He did 
not then see with the clearness of Seward's Vision. He be- 
longed rather to the more enlightened and intelligent con- 
servatives who had begun to feel the ultimate disaster slavery 
must bring, and who desired that such disaster should be 
put off as long as possible ; but the day was soon to dawn in 
which he would become a loyal supporter of the principles 
that were to be forever settled in the civil strife which Sew- 
ard so vividly portrayed in the speech that created the Silver- 

The recently adopted compromise did not become an issue 


in the New York campaign of 1850. If its opponents could 
not approve, they deemed silence wise. The followers of 
Fillmore in the up-state counties generally acted with the 
Seward men in support of Washington Hunt; but a great 
meeting, held at Castle Garden, near the close of the cam- 
paign, partially succeeded in uniting Democrats and Admin- 
istration Whigs in New York City. A letter was read from 
Daniel Webster, calling upon all good citizens not to rekindle 
the flames of "useless and dangerous controversy;" resolu- 
tions favouring a vigorous enforcement of the fugitive slave 
law were adopted; and a coalition ticket with Seymour at 
its head was agreed upon. This meeting, called a great popu- 
lar protest against demagoguery, opened an aggressive can- 
vass to defeat Hunt and destroy the Syracuse indorsement 
of Seward by raising the cry that Seward Whigs preferred 
civil war to a peaceable enforcement of the fugitive slave 
law. Seward took no part in this campaign. After Congress 
adjourned on the last day of September, he devoted the short 
time between the sessions to his law business. His friends, 
however, were active. Weed attacked the Castle Garden 
meeting with a bitterness and vigour rarely disclosed in the 
columns of the Evening Journal, and Greeley poured one 
broadside after another into what he regarded as the miser- 
able mismanagement, blundering, and confusion of the 

While waiting the result of the election, people were 
startled into sadness by the sudden death of Samuel Young 
at the age of seventy-two. He had retired in usual health, 
but died during the night. His distinguished career, covering 
nearly two-score years, was characterised by strong preju- 
dices, violent temper, and implacable resentments, which 
kept him behind men of less aptitude for public service ; but 
he was always a central figure in any assemblage favoured 
with his presence. He had a marvellous force of oratory. His 
voice, his gestures, his solemn pauses, followed by lofty and 
sustained declamation, proved irresistible and sometimes 
overwhelming in their effect. But it was his misfortune to 


be an orator with jaundiced vision, who seemed not always 
to see that principles controlled oftener than rhetoric. Yet, 
he willingly walked on in his own wild, stormy way, appar- 
ently enjoying the excitement with no fear of danger. "In 
his heart there was no guile," said Horace Greeley; "in his 
face no dough." 

It was several weeks after the election, before it was as- 
certained whether Seymour or Hunt had been chosen. Both 
were popular, and of about the same age. Washington Hunt 
seems to have devoted his life to an earnest endeavour to 
win everybody's good will. At this time Greeley thought 
him "capable without pretension," and "animated by an anx- 
ious desire to win golden opinions by deserving them." He 
had been six years in Congress, and, in 1849, ran far ahead of 
his ticket as comptroller. Horatio Seymour was no less suc- 
cessful in winning approbation. He had become involved in 
the canal controversy, but carefully avoided the slavery ques- 
tion. Greeley found it in his heart to speak of him as "an 
able and agreeable lawyer of good fortune and competent 
speaking talent, who would make a highly respectable gov- 
ernor." But 1850 was not Seymour's year. His associates 
upon the ticket were elected by several thousand majority, 
and day after day his own success seemed probable. The 
New York City combine gave him a satisfactory majority; in 
two or three Hudson river counties he made large gains ; 
but the official count gave Hunt two hundred and sixty-two 
plurality,^* with a safe Whig majority in the Legislature. The 
Whigs also elected a majority of the congressmen. "These 
results," wrote Thurlow Weed, "will encourage the friends 
of freedom to persevere by all constitutional means and 
through all rightful channels in their efforts to restrain the 
extension of slavery, and to wipe out that black spot where- 
ever it can be done without injury to the rights and interests 
of others."" 

"Washington Hunt, 214,614; Horatio Seymour, 214,352.— Cmi List, 
State of Neic York (1887), p. 166. 
"F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 189. 



The Assembly of 1851 has a peculiar, almost romantic 
interest for New Yorkers. A very young man, full of prom- 
ise and full of performance, the brilliant editor of a later 
day, the precocious politician of that day, became its 
speaker. Henry Jarvis Raymond was then in his thirty-first 
year. New York City had sent him to the Assembly in 1850, 
and he leaped into prominence the week he took his seat. 
He was ready in debate, temperate in language, quick in the 
apprehension of parliamentary rules, and of phenomenal 
tact. The unexcelled courtesy and grace of manner with 
which he dropped the measured and beautiful sentences that 
made him an orator, undoubtedly aided in obtaining the po- 
sition to which his genius entitled him. But his political in- 
stincts, also, were admirable, and his aptness as an unerring 
counsellor in the conduct of complicated affairs always 
turned to the advantage of his party. There came a time, 
after the assassination of President Lincoln, when he made 
a mistake so grievous that he was never able to regain his 
former standing ; when he was dropped from the list of party 
leaders; when his cordial aflSliation with members of the 
Republican organisation ceased; when his removal from the 
chairmanship of the National Committee was ratified by the 
action of a state convention; but the sagacity with which 
he now commented upon what he saw and heard made the 
oldest members of the Assembly lean upon him. And when 
he came back to the Legislature in January, 1851, they put 
him in the speaker's chair. 

Raymond seems never to have wearied of study, or to 


160 THE WHIGS' WATERLOO [Chap. xin. 

have found it diflScult easily to acquire knowledge. He could 
read at three years of age ; at five he was a speaker. In his 
sixteenth year he taught school in Genesee County, where 
he was born, wrote a Fourth of July ode creditable to one 
of double his years, and entered the University of Vermont. 
As soon as he reached an age to appreciate his tastes and 
to form a purpose, he began equipping himself for the career 
of a political journalist. He was not yet twenty-one when he 
made Whig speeches in the campaign of 1840 and gained em- 
ployment with Horace Greeley on the New Yorker and a 
little later on the Tribune. "I never found another person, 
barely of age and just from his studies, who evinced so much 
and so versatile ability in journalism as he did," wrote 
Greeley. "Abler and stronger men I may have met; a clev- 
erer, readier, more generally efficient journalist I never saw. 
He is the only assistant with whom I ever felt required to 
remonstrate for doing more work than any human brain and 
frame could be expected long to endure. His services were 
more valuable in proportion to their cost than those of any 
one who ever worked on the Tribune."^ In 1843, when Ray- 
mond left the Tribune, James Watson Webb, already ac- 
quainted with the ripe intelligence and eager genius of the 
young man of twentj'-three, thought him competent to man- 
age the Courier and Enquirer, and in his celebrated discus- 
sion with Greeley on the subject of socialism he gave that 
paper something of the glory which twelve years later 
crowned his labours upon the New York Times. 

It was inevitable that Raymond should hold office. The 
readiness with which he formulated answers to arguments in 
the Polk campaign, his sympathy with the Free-soil move- 
ment, the canal policy, and the common school system, pro- 
duced a marked impression upon the dawning wisdom of his 
readers. But it was near the end of his connection with the 
{Courier before he yielded his own desires to the urgent solici- 
tation of the Whigs of the ninth ward and went to the As- 
sembly. He had not yet quarrelled with James Watson Webb. 
^Horace Greeley, Recollections of a Busy Life, pp. 138, 139. 


That came in the spring of 1851 when he refused to use his 
political influence as speaker against Hamilton Fish for 
United States senator and in favour of the owner of the 
Courier and Enquirer. His anti-slavery convictions and 
strong prejudices against the compromise measures of 1850 
also rapidly widened the gulf between him and his supe- 
rior; and when the break finally came he stepped from the 
speaker's chair into the editorial management of the New 
York Times, his own paper, pure in tone and reasonable in 
price, which was destined to weaken the Courier as a politT- 
cal organ, to rival the Tribune as a family and party journal, 
and to challenge the Herald as a collector of news. 

The stormy sessions of the Legislature of 1851 needed such 
a speaker as Raymond. At the outset, the scenes and tactics 
witnessed at Seward's election to the Senate in 1849 were re- 
peated in the selection of a successor to Daniel S. Dickinson, 
whose term expired on the 4th of March. Webb's candidacy 
was prosecuted with characteristic zeal. For a quarter of a 
century he had been a picturesque, aggressive journalist, 
with a record adorned with libel suits and duels — the result 
of pungent paragraphs and bitter personalities — making 
him an object of terror to the timid and a pistol target for 
the fearless. On one occasion, through the clemency of Gov- 
ernor Seward, he escaped a two years' term in state's prison 
for fighting the brilliant "Tom" Marshall of Kentucky, who 
wounded him in the leg, and it is not impossible that Jon- 
athan Cilley might have wounded him in the other had not 
the distinguished Maine congressman refused his challenge 
because he was "not a gentleman." This reply led to the 
foolish and fatal fray between Cilley and William J. Graves, 
who took up Webb's quarrel. 

Webb was known as the Apollo of the press, his huge 
form, erect and massive, towering above the heads of other 
men, while his great physical strength made him noted for 
feats of endurance and activity. As a young man he held 
a minor commission in the army, but in 1827, at the age 
of twenty-five, he resigned to become the editor of the 

162 THE WHIGS' WATERLOO [Chap. xin. 

Courier, which, in 1829, he combined with the Enquirer. 
For twenty years, under his management, this paper, first 
as a supporter of Jackson and later as an advocate of 
Whig policies, ranked among the influential journals of 
''New York. After Raymond withdrew, however, it became 
the organ of the Silver-Grays, and began to wane, until, 
in 1860, it lapsed into the World. 

Webb's chief title to distinction in political life was al- 
legiance to his own principles regardless of the party with 
which he happened to be aflSliated, and his fidelity to men 
who had shown him kindness. He followed President Jack- 
son until the latter turned against the United States Bank, 
and he supported the radical Whigs until Clay, in 1849, 
defeated his confirmation for minister to Austria; but, to 
the last, he seems to have remained true to Seward, possi- 
bly because Seward kept him out of state's prison, although, 
in the contest for United States senator in 1851, Hamilton 
Fish was the candidate of the Seward Whigs. Fish had 
grown rapidly as governor. People formerly recognised him 
as an accomplished gentleman, modest in manners and mod- 
erate in speech, but his conduct and messages as an execu- 
tive revealed those higher qualities of statesmanship that 
ranked him among the wisest public men of the State. Thur- 
low Weed had accepted rather than selected him for gov- 
ernor in 1848. "I came here without claims upon your kind- 
ness," Fish wrote on December 31, 1850, the last day of his 
term. "I shall leave here full of the most grateful recollec- 
tions of your favours and good will.'" This admission was 
sufficient to dishonour him with the Fillmore Whigs, and, 
although he became the caucus nominee for senator on the 
30th of January, his opponents, marshalled by Fillmore of- 
fice-holders in support of James Watson Webb, succeeded in 
deadlocking his election for nearly two months.' 

' Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 190. 

' "The Whigs held the Senate by only two majority, and when 
the day for electing a United States senator arrived, sixteen Whigs 
voted for Fish, and fifteen Democrats voted for as many different 
candidates, so that the Fish Whigs could not double over upon 


In the meantime, other serious troubles confronted the 
young speaker. The Assembly, pursuant to the recommenda- 
tion of Governor Hunt, passed an act authorising a loan of 
nine million dollars for the immediate enlargement of the: 
Erie canal. Its constitutionality, seriously doubted, was ap- 
proved by Daniel Webster and Kufus Choate, and the Whigs, 
needing an issue for the campaign, forced the bill ahead until 
eleven Democratic senators broke a quorum by resigning 
their seats. The Whigs were scarcely less excited than the 
Democrats. Such a secession had never occurred before. 
Former legislators held the opinion that they were elected 
to represent and maintain the interests of their constituent* 
— not to withdraw for the sake of indulging some petulant or 
romantic impulse because they could not have their own 
way. Two opposition senators had the good sense to take this- 
view and remain at their post. Governor Hunt immediately 
called an extra session, and, in the campaign to fill the vacan- 
cies, six of the eleven seceders were beaten. Thus reinf orced. 
in the Senate, the Whig policy became the law ; and, although, 
the Court of Appeals, in the following May, held the act un- 
constitutional, both parties got the benefit of the issue in 
the campaign of 1851. 

In this contest the Whigs followed the lead of the Demo- 
crats in avoiding the slavery question. The fugitive slave law 
was absorbing public attention. The "Jerry rescue" had not 
occurred in Syracuse ; nor had the killing of a slave-holder in 
a negro uprising on the border of an adjoining State adver- 

them. James W. Beekman, a Whig senator of New York City, wha 
claimed that Fish had fallen too much under the control of Weed, 
voted for Francis Granger. Upon a motion to adjourn, Beekman 
voted 'yes' with the Democrats, creating a tie, which the lieu- 
tenant-governor broke by also voting in the afBrmative. The Whigs 
then waited for a few weeks, but one morning, when two Democrats- 
were in New York City, they sprung a resolution to go into an 
election, and, after an unbroken struggle of fourteen hours. Fish 
was elected. The exultant cannon of the victors startled the city 
from its slumbers, and convinced the Silver-Grays that the Woolly 
Heads still held the capltol." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, 
p. 172. 

164 THE WHIGS' WATEELOO [Chap. xm. 

tised the danger of enforcing the law ; yet the Act had not 
worked as smoothly as Fillmore's friends wished. It took ten 
days of litigation at a cost of more than the fugitive's value 
to reclaim a slave in New York City. Trustworthy estimates 
fixed the number of runaways in the free States at fifteen 
thousand, and a southern United States senator bitterly com- 
plained that only four or five had been recaptured since the 
law's enactment. Enough had been done, however, to in- 
flame the people into a passion. Ralph Waldo Emerson de- 
clared the Act "a law which every one of you will break on 
the earliest occasion — a law which no man can obey, or abet 
the obeying, without loss of self-respect' and forfeiture of the 
name of gentleman."* Seward did not hesitate to publish 
similar sentiments. "Christendom," he wrote, "might be 
searched in vain for a parallel to the provisions which make 
escape from bondage a crime, and which, under vigorous pen- 
alties, compel freemen to aid in the capture of slaves.'" The 
Albany Evening Journal declared that "the execution of the 
fugitive slave law violently convulses the foundations of so- 
ciety. Fugitives who have lived among us for many years 
cannot be seized and driven oflE as if they belonged to the 
brute creation. The attempt to recover such fugitives will 
prove abortive."' 

It is impossible to read these expressions without believing 
that they were written under the inspiration of genuine emo- 
tion, and that so long as such conditions continued men of 
sentiment could think of little else. Danger to the Union, at 
least assumed danger, could not in any way soften their 
hearts or change their purposes. Yet the state conventions 
•which met in Syracuse on September 10 and 11, 1851, talked 
of other things. The Democrats nominated a ticket divided 
between Hunkers and Barnbiirners ; and, after condemning 
the Whig management of the canals as lavish, reckless, and 

*J. E. Cabot, Life of Emerson, p. 578. Emerson's address at Con- 
cord, May 3. 1851. 

= F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 163. 

' Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 185. 


corrupt, readopted the slavery resolutions of the previous 
year. The Whigs likewise performed their duty by making 
up a ticket of Fillmore and inoffensive Seward men, pledg- 
ing the party to the enlargement of the Erie canal. Thus it 
was publicly announced that slavery should be eliminated 
from the thought and action of parties. 

This policy of silence put the Whigs under painful re- 
straint. The rescue of a fugitive at Syracuse by a band of 
resolute men, led by Gerrit Smith and Samuel J. May, and 
the killing of a slave-owner at Christiana, Pennsylvania, 
while attempting to reclaim his property, seriously disturbed 
the consciences of men who thought as did Emerson and 
Seward ; but not a word appeared in Whig papers about the 
great underlying question which persistently forced itself on 
men's thoughts. Greeley wrote of the tariff and the iron 
trade ; Seward spent the summer in Detroit on professional 
engagements ; and Weed, whose great skill had aided in suc- 
cessfully guiding the canal loan through a legislative seces- 
sion, continued to urge that policy as the key to the campaign 
as well as to New York's commerce. But after the votes were 
counted the Whigs discovered that they had played a losing 
game. Two minor state oflQcers out of eight, with a tie in the 
Senate and two majority in the Assembly, summed up their 
possessions. The defeat of George W. Patterson for comp- 
troller greatly distressed his friends, and the loss of the 
canal board, with all its oflScers, plunged the whole Whig 
party into grief. Several reasons for this unexpected result 
found advocates in the press. There were evidences of in- 
fidelity in some of the up-state counties, especially in the 
Auburn district, where Samuel Blatchford's law partnership 
with Seward had defeated him for justice of the Supreme 
Court ; but the wholesale proscription in New York City by 
Administration or "Cotton Whigs," as they were called, fully 
accounted for the overthrow. It was taken as a declaration 
of war against Sewardism. "The majorities against Patter- 
son and his defeated associates," said the Tribune, in its 
issue of November 20, "imply that no man who is recognised 

166 THE WHIGS' WATERLOO [Chap. xin. 

as a friend of Governor Seward and a condemner of the 
fugitive slave law must be run on our state ticket hereafter, 
or he will be beaten by the Cotton influence in this city." 
Hamilton Fish took a similar view. "A noble, glorious party 
has been defeated — destroyed — by its own leaders," he wrote 
Weed. "Webster has succeeded better under Fillmore than 
he did under Tyler in breaking up the Whig organisation 
and forming a third party. I pity Fillmore. Timid, vacil- 
lating, credulous, unjustly supicious when approached by his 
prejudices, he has allowed the sacrifice of that confiding 
party which has had no honours too high to confer upon 
him. It cannot be long before he will realise the tremendous 
mistake he has made.'" 

What Hamilton Fish said the great majority of New York 
Whigs thought, and in this frame of mind they entered the 
presidential campaign of 1852. Fillmore, Scott, and Webster 
were the candidates. Fillmore had not spared the use of pat- 
ronage to further his ambition. It mattered not that the 
postmaster at Albany was the personal friend of Thurlow 
Weed, or that the men appointed upon the recommendation 
of Seward were the choice of a majority of their party, the 
proscription extended to all who disapproved the Silver- 
Grays' bolt of 1850, or refused to recognise their subsequent 
convention at Utica. Under these circumstances thirst for 
revenge as well as a desire to nominate a winning candidate 
controlled the selection of presidential delegates ; and in the 
round-up seven favoured Fillmore, two preferred Webster, 
while twenty-four supported Scott. Naturally the result was 
a great shock to Fillmore. The Silver-Grays had been grow- 
ing heartily sick of their secession, and if they needed fur- 
ther evidence of its rashness the weakness of their leader in 
his home State furnished it. 

Fillmore's strength proved to be chiefly in the South. His 
vigorous execution of the fugitive slave law had been more 
potent than his unsparing use of patronage; and when the 
Whig convention assembled at Baltimore on June 16 the 

' Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 196. 


question whether that law should be declared a finality be- 
came of supreme importance. Fillmore could not stand on 
an anti-slavery platform, and a majority of the New Yorkers 
refused their consent to any sacrifice of principle. But, in 
spite of their protest, the influence of a solid southern dele- 
gation, backed by the marvellous eloquence of Eufus Choate, 
forced the passage of a resolution declaring that "the com- 
promise acts, the act known as the fugitive slave law in- 
cluded, are received and acquiesced in by the Whig party of 
the United States as a settlement in principle and substance 
of the dangerous and exciting questions which they embrace. 
We insist upon their strict enforcement; and we depre- 
cate all fui'ther agitation of the question thus settled, as dan- 
gerous to our peace, and will discountenance all efforts to 
continue or renew such agitation whenever, wherever, or 
however the attempt may be made." A roll call developed 
sixty-six votes in the negative, all from the North, and one- 
third of them from New York. 

This was a Fillmore- Webster platform, and the first ballot 
gave them a majority of the votes cast, Fillmore having 133, 
Webster 29, Scott 131. The number necessary to a choice 
was 147. The activity of the Fillmore delegates, therefore, 
centred in an effort to concentrate the votes of the President 
and his secretary of state. Both were in Washington, their 
relations were cordial, and an adjournment of the conven- 
tion over Sunday gave abundant opportunity to negotiate. 
When it became manifest that Webster's friends would not 
go to Fillmore, an extraordinary effort was made to bring 
the President's votes to Webster. This was agreeable to Fill- 
more, who placed a letter of withdrawal in the hands of a 
Buffalo delegate to be used whenever he deemed it proper. 
But twenty-two Southern men declined to be transferred, 
while the most piteous appeals to the Scott men of New York 
met with cold refusals. They professed any amount of duty 
to their party, but as regards the Fillmore combine they 
were implacable. They would listen to no terms of compro- 
mise while their great enemy remained in the field. Mean- 

168 THE WHIGS' WATERLOO [Chap. xin. 

time, the Scott managers had not been asleep. In the con- 
test over the platform, certain Southern delegates had agreed 
to vote for Scott whenever Fillmore reached his finish, pro- 
vided Scott's friends supported the fugitive slave plank ; and 
these delegates, amidst the wildest excitement, now began 
changing their votes to the hero of Lundy's Lane. On the 
fifty-third ballot, the soldier had twenty-six majority, the 
vote standing: Scott, 159; Fillmore, 112; Webster, 21. 

The prophecy of Hamilton Fish was fulfilled. Fillmore 
now realised, if never before, "the tremendous mistakes he 
had made." Upon his election as Vice President, and espe- 
cially after dreams of the White House began to dazzle him, 
he seemed to sacrifice old friends and cherished principles 
without a scruple. Until then, the Buffalo statesman had 
been as pronounced upon the slavery question as Seward ; 
and after he became President, with the tremendous infiu- 
ence of Daniel Webster driving him on, it was not believed 
that he would violate the principles of a lifetime by approv- 
ing a fugitive slave law, revolting to the rapidly growing sen- 
timent of justice and humanity toward the slave. But, un- 
like Webster, the President manifested no feeling of chagrin 
or disappointment over the result at Baltimore. Throughout 
the campaign and during the balance of his term of office he 
bore himself with courage and with dignity. Indeed, his 
equanimity seemed almost like the fortitude of fatalism. No 
doubt, he was sustained by the conviction that the compro- 
mise measures had avoided civil war, and by the feeling that 
if he had erred, Clay and W^ebster had likewise erred ; but he 
could have had no presentiment of the depth of the retire- 
ment to which he was destined. He was to reappear, in 1856, 
as a presidential candidate of the Americans; and, after 
civil war had rent the country in twain, his sympathy for 
the Union was to reveal itself early and with ardour. But 
the fugitive slave law, which, next to treason itself, had be- 
come the most offensive act during the ante-war crisis, filled 
the minds of men with a growing dislike of the one whose 
pen gave it life, and, in spite of his high character, his long 


public career, and his eminence as a citizen, he was associ- 
ated with Pierce and Buchanan, who, as Northern ipen, were 
believed to have surrendered to Southern dictation.* 

In the national convention at Baltimore, which met June 
1, 1852, the New York Democrats were likewise destined to 
sufifer by their divisions. Lewis Cass, James Buchanan, and 
Stephen A. Douglas were the leading candidates; though 
William L. Marcy and Daniel S. Dickinson also had presi- 
dential ambitions. Marcy was a man of different mould from 
Dickinson.* With great mental resources, rare administra- 
tive ability, consummate capacity in undermining enemies, 
and an intuitive sagacity in the selection of friends, Marcy 
was an opponent to be dreaded. After the experiences of 
1847 and 1848, he had bitterly denounced the Barnburners, 
refusing even to join Seymour in 1849 in his heroic efforts 
to reunite the party ; but when the Barnburners, influenced 
by the Utica statesman, began talking of him for President 
in 1852 he quickly put himself in accord with that wing of 
his party. Instantly, this became a call to battle. The Hun- 
kers, provoked at his apostacy and encouraged by the con- 
tinued distrust of many Barnburners, made a desperate ef- 

' "When Fillmore withdrew from the presidential office, the gen- 
eral sentiment proclaimed that he had filled the place with ability 
and honour. He was strictly temperate, industrious, orderly, and 
of an integrity above suspicion. If Northern people did not ap- 
prove the fugitive slave law, they at least looked upon it with 
toleration. It is quite true, however, that after-opinion has been 
unkind to Fillmore. The judgment on him was made up at a time 
when the fugitive slave law had become detestable, and he was 
remembered only for his signature and vigorous execution of it."— 
James F. Rhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 1, pp. 297, 301. 

•"It was certain that Mr. Dickinson could not carry New 
York. . . . Governor Marcy was strongly urged in many quarters, 
and it was thought the State might be carried by him; but many 
were of the opinion that his friends kept his name prominently 
before the public with the hope of obtaining a cabinet appointment 
for him and thus securing the influence of that section of the New 
York Democracy to which he. belonged. This was precisely the 
result that followed." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. Dix, Vol. 1, 
p. 266. 

170 THE WHIGS' WATEELOO [Chap. xm. 

fort, under the leadership of Dickinson, to secure a majority 
of the delegates for Cass. The plastic hand of Horatio Sey- 
anore, however, quickly kneaded the doubting Barnburners 
into Marcy advocates ; and when the contest ended the New 
Tork delegation stood twenty-three for Marcy and thirteen 
for Cass. 

Dickinson, who had been a steadfast friend of the South, 
relied with confidence upon Virginia and other South- 
ern States whenever success with Cass seemed impossible. 
On the other hand, Marcy expected a transfer of support 
from Buchanan and Douglas if the break came. On the first 
ballot Cass had 116, Buchanan 93, Douglas 20, and Marcy 
27; necessary to a choice, 188. As chairman of the New 
York delegation, Horatio Seymour held Marcy's vote practi- 
cally intact through thirty-three ballots ; but, on the thirty- 
fourth, he dropped to 23, and Virginia cast its fifteen votes 
for Dickinson, who, up to that time, had been honoured only 
with the vote of a solitary delegate. In the midst of some ap- 
plause, the New Yorker, who was himself a delegate, thanked 
bis Virginia friends for the compliment, but declared that 
bis adherence to Cass could not be shaken.^" Dickinson had 
carefully arranged for this vote. The day before, in the 
presence of the Virginia delegation, he had asked Henry B. 
Stanton's opinion of his ability to carry New York. "You 
or Marcy or any man nominated can carry New York," was 
the laconic reply. Dickinson followed Stanton out of the 
room to thank him for his courtesy, but regretted he did not 
confine his answer to him alone. After Virginia's vote Dick- 
inson again sought Stanton's opinion as to its adherence. 
"It is simply a compliment," was the reply, "and will leave 
you on the next ballot," which it did, going to Franklin 

" "I could not consent to a nomination here without incurring 
the imputation of unfaithfully executing the trust committed to 
me by my constituents — without turning my back on an old and 
valued friend. Nothing that could be offered me — not even the high- 
est position in the Government, the office of President of the United 
States — could compensate me for such a desertion of my trust." — 
Daniel S. Dickinson, Letters and Speeches, Vol. 1, p. 370. 


Pierce. "Dickinson's friends used to assert," continued 
Stanton, "that he threw away the Presidency on this occa- 
sion. I happened to know better. He never stood for a mo- 
ment where he could control the Virginia vote — the hinge 
whereon all was to turn."^^ 

In the meantime Marcy moved up to 44. It had been evident 
for two days that the favourite candidates could not win, 
and for the next thirteen ballots, amidst the greatest noise 
and confusion, the convention sought to discover the wisest 
course to pursue. Seymour endeavoured to side-track the 
"dark horse" movement by turning the tide to Marcy, whose 
vote kept steadily rising. When, on the forty-fifth ballot, he 
reached 97, the New York delegation retired for consultation. 
Seymour at once moved that the State vote solidly for Marcy ; 
but protests fell so thick, exploding like bombshells, that he 
soon withdrew the motion. This ended Marcy's chances.^^ 
On the forty-ninth ballot, North Carolina started the stam- 
pede to Pierce, who received 282 votes to 6 for all others. 
Later in the day, the convention nominated William R. King 
of Alabama for Vice President, and adopted a platform, de- 
claring that "the Democratic party of the Union will abide 
hy, and adhere to, a faithful execution of the acts known as 
the compromise measures settled by the last Congress — the 
act for reclaiming fugitive slaves from service of labour in- 
cluded; which act, being designed to carry out an express 
provision of the Constitution, cannot with fidelity thereto 

'^ H. B. Stanton, Random Recollectiotis, p. 181. 

^ "Marcy held the war portfolio under Polk, but his conduct of 
the office had not added to his reputation, for it had galled the 
Administration to have the signal victories of the Mexican War 
won by Whig' generals, and it was currently believed that the War 
Minister had shared in the endeavour to thwart some of the plans 
of Scott and Taylor." — James F. Rhodes, History of the Vmted States, 
Vol. 1, pp. 246-7. 

"The conflict became terrific, until, when the ballots had run 
np to viithin one of fifty, the Virginia nominee was announced as 
the choice of the convention." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. 
Dix, Vol. 1, p. 868. 

172 THE WHIGS' WATERLOO [Chap. xiii. 

be repealed, nor so changed as to destroy or impair its 

Some time before the convention it was suggested, with 
Marcy's approval, that the New York delegation should vote 
as a unit for Dickinson if he proved the stronger candidate 
outside the State, and, upon the same condition, a solid dele- 
gation should vote for Marcy. This proposition did not reach 
Dickinson until his leading friends had committed them- 
selves by a second choice ; but, in speaking of the matter to 
Thurlow Weed ten years afterward, Dickinson said that had 
it come in time he would cheerfully have accepted it, 
adding that whatever may have been his opinion in 1852, 
he now knew it would have resulted in Marcy's nomi- 

The disturbance among the New York delegates at Balti- 
more had its influence at Syracuse when the Democratic 
state convention assembled on September 1. Seymour was 
the leading candidate for governor, and Dickinson opposed 
him with a bitterness born of a desire for revenge. The night 
before the convention Seymour's chances were pronounced 
desperate. Whatever disappointments had come at Balti- 
more were laid at his door. Seymour made Cass' defeat pos- 
sible ; Seymour refused to help Buchanan ; Seymour was re- 
sponsible for a dark horse; Seymour filled Marcy's friends 
with hopes of ultimate victory, only to heighten their disap- 
pointment in the end. All these allegations were merely 
founded upon his steadfastness to Marcy, and he might have 
answered that everything had been done with the approval 
of a majority of the New York delegation. But Dickinson 
was no match for the Utica statesman. Seymour's whole life 
had been a training for such a contest. As Roscoe Conkling 
said of him many years later, he had sat at the feet of Edwin 
Croswell and measured swords with Thurlow Weed. He was 
one of the men who do not lose the character of good fighters 
because they are excellent negotiators. Even the cool-headed 
and astute John Van Buren, who joined Dickinson in his 
support of John P. Beekman of New York City for governor, 


found that Seymour could cut deeply when he chose to wield 
a blade. ^* Seymour, moreover, gave his friends great satis- 
faction by the energy with which he entered the gubernato- 
rial contest. When the first ballot was announced he had 59 
votes to Beekman's 7, with only 64 necessary to a choice. 
On the second ballot, the Utican had 78 and Beekman .3. 
This concluded the convention's contest. Sanford E. Church 
was then renominated for lieutenant-governor, and the Balti- 
more platform approved. 

The Whig state convention met at Syracuse on September 
22 and promptly renominated Washington Hunt for gov- 
ernor by acclamation. Raymond wanted it, and Greeley, in a 
letter to Weed, admitted an ambition, while a strong senti- 
ment existed for George W. Patterson. Hunt had veered to- 
ward Fillmore's way of thinking. "The closing paragraphs 
of his message are a beggarly petition to the South," wrote 
George Dawson, the quaint, forceful associate of Weed upon 
the Evening Journal.^* But Hunt's administration had beea 
quiet and satisfactory, and there was little disposition to 
drop him. He did not have the patience of Hamilton Fish,, 
but he resembled him in moderation of speech. 

William Kent, a son of the Chancellor, received the nomi- 
nation for lieutenant-governor. Kent was a scholarly, able 
lawyer. He had served five years upon the circuit bench by 
appointment of Governor Seward. He co-operated with Ben- 
jamin F. Butler in the organisation of the law school of the 
New York University, becoming one of its original lecturers, 
and was subsequently called to Harvard as a professor of 

" "Seymour was among' the most effective and eloquent platform; 
orators in New York. Less electrical than John Van Buren, he was 
more persuasive; less witty, he was more logical; less sarcastic, 
he was more candid; less denunciatory of antagonists, he was more 
convincing to opponents. These two remarkable men had little in 
common except lofty ambition and rare mental and social gifts. 
Their salient characteristics were widely dissimilar. Seymour was 
conciliatory, and cultivated peace. Van Buren was aggressive, and 
coveted war." — ^H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 178. 

"Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 218. 

174 THE WHIGS' WATERLOO [Chap. xin. 

law. Like his distinguished father he was a man of pure char- 
acter, and of singular simplicity and gentleness. 

The adoption of a platform gave the Whig delegates more 
trouble than the nomination of candidates. A large majority 
opposed the slavery plank of the Baltimore platform. But 
the Seward Whigs, having little faith in the ultimate result, 
accepted a general declaration that "an honest acquiescence 
in the action of the late national convention upon all sub- 
jects legitimately before it is the duty of every Whig." Hor- 
ace Greeley suggested that "those who please can construe 
this concession into an approval." 

In opening the canvass of 1852, the Whigs attempted to 
repeat the campaign of 18t0. Scott's record in the War of 
1812 was not less brilliant than Harrison's, and if his Mexi- 
can battles were not fought against the overwhelming odds 
that Taylor met at Buena Vista, he was none the less entitled 
to the distinction of a conqueror. It was thought proper, 
therefore, to start his political campaign where his military 
career began, and, as the anniversary of Lundy's Lane oc- 
curred in July, extensive preparations were made for cele- 
brating the day at Niagara Falls, the nearest American point 
to the scene of his desperate courage. The great meeting, 
made up of large delegations from nearly every Northern 
State, rivalled in numbers and in enthusiasm the memorable 
meetings of the Harrison campaign. To add to the interest, 
two hundred and twenty ofiQcers and soldiers of the War of 
1812, some of whom had taken part in the battle, partici- 
pated in the festivities. Speakers declared that it inaugu- 
rated a new career of triumph, which might be likened to the 
onslaught of Lundy's Lane, the conflict of Chippewa, the 
siege of Vera Cruz, and the storm of Cerro Gordo; and 
which, they prophesied, would end in triumphant possession, 
not now of the Halls of the Montezumas, but of the White 
House of American Presidents. The meeting lasted two days. 
Thomas Ewing, of Ohio, acted as president, and among the 
speakers was Henry Winter Davis. 

But this was the only demonstration that recalled the 


Harrison campaign. The drum and cannon did conspicuous 
work, flags floated, and speakers found ready and patriotic 
listeners, but the hearts of many people were not enlisted 
in the discussion of tariffs and public improvements. They 
were thinking of the fugitive slave law and its enforcement, 
and some believed that while speakers and editors were 
charging Pierce with cowardice on the field of Churubusco 
they did not themselves have the courage to voice their hon- 
est convictions on the slavery question. As election drew 
near signs of victory disappeared. Conservative Whigs did 
not like the candidate and anti-slavery Whigs objected to the 
platform. "This wretched platform," Seward declared, 
"was contrived to defeat Scott in the nomination, or to sink 
him in the canvass."^' Horace Greeley's spirited protest 
against the fugitive slave plank gave rise to the phrase, "We 
accept the candidate, but spit upon the platform." Among 
the business men of New York City an impression obtained 
that if Scott became President, Seward would control him ; 
and their purpose to crush the soldier seemed to centre not so 
much in hostility to Scott as in their desire to destroy Sew- 
ard. Greeley speaks of this "extraordinary feature" of the 
campaign. "Seward has been the burden of our adversaries' 
song from the outset," he writes; "and mercantile Whigs 
by thousands have ever been ready not merely to defeat but 
to annihilate the Whig party if they might thereby demolish 
Seward."" In answer to the charge of influencing Scott's 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 188. 

"Many thought: the voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the 
hands of Esau. Seward was the political juggler, or Mephistoph- 
eles, as some called him, and the result was regarded as his 
triumph." — James F. Rhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 1, p. 
263. "Some of the prominent Whig newspapers of Georgia declined 
to sustain Scott, because his election would mean Free-soilism and 
Sewardism. An address was issued on July 3 by Alexander H. 
Stephens, Robert Toombs, and five other Whig representatives, in 
which they flatly refused to support Scott because he was 'the 
favourite candidate of the Free Soil wing of the Whig party.' " — 
IMd., p. 262. 

"New York Tribune, October, 1852. 

ire THE WHIGS' WATEELOO [Chap. xm. 

administration, the Senator promptly declared that he would 
neither ask nor accept "any public station or preferment 
whatever at the hands of the President."" But this in nowise 
silenced their batteries. To the end of the canvass Scott con- 
tinued to be advertised as the "Seward candidate." 

After the September elections, it became manifest that 
something must be done to strengthen Whig sentiment, and 
Scott made a trip through the doubtful States of Ohio and 
New York. Although Harrison had made several speeches in 
] 840, there was no precedent for a presidential stumping tour ; 
and, to veil the purpose of the journey, recourse was had to 
a statute authorising the general of the army to visit Ken- 
tucky with the object of locating an asylum for sick and dis- 
abled soldiers at Blue Lick Springs. He went from Wash- 
ington by way of Pittsburg and returned through New York, 
stopping at Buffalo, Niagara Palls, Lockport, Rochester, Au- 
burn, Syracuse, Kome, Utica, and Albany. Everywhere great 
crowds met him, but cheers for the hero mingled with cheers 
for a Democratic victory in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, 
indicating the certain election of Pierce in November. At 
Auburn, Seward referred to him as "the greatest of Ameri- 
can heroes since the Revolutionary age." At Albany, John 
C. Spencer's presence recalled the distinguished services of 
Governor Tompkins and Chief Justice Ambrose Spencer in 
the War of 1812. "It was these men," said Scott, "who were 
aware of the position on the frontier, that urged me on to 
achieve something that would add to the future honour of 
our country." New York City received him with one of the 
largest ovations ever witnessed up to that time. He avoided 
politics in his speeches, insisting that he did not come to so- 
licit votes. But he did not thereby help his cause or escape 
ridicule. Indeed, the ill-advised things said and done, created 
the impression that obtained thirty-two years later after the 
tour of James G. Blaine. 

Though the Democrats at first accepted Franklin Pierce 
as they had received James K. Polk, coldness and distrust 

" Seward's Works, Vol. 3, p. 416. Date of letter, June 26, 1852. 


gradually disappeared. At Tammany's Fourth of July cele- 
bration, the presence of the prominent leaders who bolted 
in 1848 gave evidence of the party's reunion. The chief 
speaker was John Van Buren. Upon the platform sat John 
A. Dix, Preston King, and Churchill C. Cambreling. Of the 
letters read, one came from Martin Van Buren, who ex- 
pressed pleasure that "the disturbing subject of slavery has, 
by the action of both the great parties of the country, been 
withdrawn from the canvass." Among the editors who con- 
tributed most powerfully to the Free-soil movement, Willian^ 
Cullen Bryant now supported Pierce on the theory that he 
and the platform were .the more favourable to freedom.^* John 
Van Buren's spacious mind and his genius for giving fascina- 
tion to whatever he said convulsed his audience with wit and 
thrilled it with forceful statements. The country, he de- 
clared, was tired of the agitation of slavery, which had ceased 
to be a political question. It only remained to enforce in 
good faith the great compromise. He asserted that trade was 
good and the country prosperous, and that the Democratic 
party had gained the confidence of the people because it 
was a party of pacification, opposed to the agitation of sla- 
very, insistent upon sacredly observing the compromises 
of the Constitution, and certain to bring settled political 

Prince John proved himself equal to the occasion. If no 
longer the great apostle of the Free-soilers he was now the 
accepted champion of the Democracy. He had said what 
everybody believed who voted for Pierce and what many peo- 

" "The argument of the Post, that the Democratic candidate and 
platform were really more favourable to liberty than the Whig-, 
-was somewhat strained; the editor failed to .look the situation 
squarely in the face. He was, however, acting in perfect harmony 
with the prominent New York Pemocrats who had, four years 
previously, bolted the regular nomination. Salmon P. Chase, al- 
though still a Democrat, would not support Pierce, but gave his 
adherence to the free-soil nominations, and tried hard, though in 
vain, to bring to their support his former New York associates." — 
James F. Rhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 1, pp. 264-65. 

178 THE WHIGS' WATEELOO [Chap. xin. 

pie thought who voted for Scott. There is no doubt his 
speech created an immense sensation. Greeley ridiculed it, 
Weed belittled it, and the Free-soilers denounced it, but it 
became the keynote of the campaign, and the Prince, with his 
rich, brilliant copiousness that was never redundant, be- 
came the picturesque and popular speaker of every platform. 
There were other Democratic orators.^* Charles O'Conor's 
speeches were masterpieces of declamation, and James T. 
Brady, then thirty-seven years old, but already famous as 
one of the foremost criminal lawyers of the time, discovered 
the same magnetic eloquence that made him almost irre- 
sistible before a jury. His sentences, rounded and polished, 
rolled from his mouth in perfect balance. Van Buren was ka- 
leidoscopic, becoming by turn humourous, sarcastic, gravely 
logical, and famously witty ; Brady and O'Conor inclined to 
severity, easily dropping into vituperation, and at times ex- 
hibiting bitterness. Van Buren's hardest hits came in the 
form of sarcasm. It mattered not who heard him, all went 
away good-natured and satisfied with the entertainment. 
There were moments when laughter drowned his loudest ut- 
terances, when silence made his whispers audible, and when 
an eloquent epigram moistened the eye. 

The election proved a Waterloo to the Whigs. Twenty- 
seven States gave majorities for Pierce, only four were 
for Scott. Seymour ran 22,000 votes ahead of Hunt.'"' In the 
Assembly the Democrats numbered eighty-five, the Whigs 
forty-three. Of the thirty-three congressmen, the Democrats 
elected twenty-one, the Whigs ten, the Free-soilers and Land 
Reformers one each. It was wittily said that the Whig party 
"died of an attempt to swallow the fugitive slave law." The 
election of Pierce and Seymour surprised none of the Whig 
leaders. Thurlow Weed, convinced of the hopelessness of 

"John A. Dix spoke in the New Eng-land and the Middle States. 
From October 11 to 29 he made thirteen speeches "in the great 
canvass whic(h is upon us." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. Dix, 
Vol. 1, pp. 269, 271. 

" Horatio Seymour, 264,121; Washington Hunt, 241,525.— Civil List, 
State of New Tork (1887), p. 166. 


Whig success, went off to Europe for six months preceding 
the campaign. The Tribune talked of victory, but in his pri- 
vate correspondence Greeley declared that "we shall lose the 
Legislature and probably everything at home." 

Wiufield Scott seems to have been the only man really sur- 
prised. "He looked forward buoyantly to an easy and tri- 
umphant victory," says Weed, who dined with him on a Sun- 
day in October.^^ But, though Pierce's election produced no 
surprise, his majority of 212 electoral votes astounded every- 
body. It eclipsed the result of the romantic campaign of 
1840, and seemed to verify the assertions of John Van Buren, 
in his Fourth of July speech at Tammany Hall. The people 
were not only tired of slavery agitation, but trade was good, 
the country prosperous, and a reunited Democracy, by unre- 
servedly indorsing the compromise measures of 1850, prom- 
ised settled conditions. 

It is not without historical interest to notice that Gerrit 
Smith, one of the most uncompromising opponents of slavery 
in any country, received an election to Congress in a district 
that gave Pierce and Seymour upward of one thousand ma- 
jority. It showed that the smouldering fire, which had sud- 
denly blazed out in the Free-soil campaign of 1848, was not 
extinguished by the coalition of Barnburners and Hunkers, 
and the acceptance of the great compromise by the two Bal- 
timore conventions. Gerrit Smith was a noble example of 
the champions of freedom. He had not the passion of Garri- 
son, or the genius of Henry Ward Beecher; but his deep 
voice of marvellous richness, the grace and dignity of his 
person, and the calm, gentle, dispassionate tone in which he 
declared his principles without fear, was to command the 
earnest and respectful attention of the national House of 

^ Thurlow Weed Bames, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 3, p. 219. 




In New York a Democratic victory had come to mean a 
succession of Democratic defeats. It was so after the victory 
of 1841 ; and it was destined to be so after the victory of 1852. 
But defeat occurred differently this time. In 1847 the Barn- 
burners had seceded from the Hunkers ; in 1853 the Hunkers 
seceded from the Barnburners. For six years the Barn- 
burners had played bold politics. After defeating the Demo- 
cratic ticket in 1847 and the state and national tickets in 
1848, they returned to the party practically upon their own 
terms. Instead of asking admittance they walked in without 
Isnocking. They did not even apologise for their Free-soil 
principles. These they left behind because they had put them 
off ; but the sorrow that follows repentance was absent. In 
the convention of 1849, John Van Buren was received like a 
prodigal son and his followers invited to an equal division 
of the spoils. Had the Hunkers declared they didn't know 
them as Democrats in their unrepentant attitude, the Barn- 
burner host must have melted like frost work; but, in their 
desire to return to power, the Hunkers asked no questions 
and fixed no conditions. In the process of this reunion Hora- 
tio Seymour, the cleverest of the Hunkers, coalesced with 
the shrewdest of the Barnburners, who set about to capture 
William L. Marcy. Seymour knew of Marcy's ambition to 
become a candidate for the Presidency and of the rivalry of 
Cass and Dickinson ; and so when he agreed to make him the 
Barnburners' candidate, Marcy covenanted to defeat Cass at 
^Baltimore and Dickinson in New York. Though the Barn- 



burners failed to make Marey a nominee for President, he 
did not fail to defeat Cass and slaughter Dickinson.^ 

To add to the Hunkers' humiliation, President Pierce now 
sided with the Barnburners. He invited John A. Dix to 
visit him at Concord, and in the most cordial manner offered 
him the position of secretary of state.^ This was too much 
for the pro-slavery Hunkers, for Dix had been a Free-soil 
candidate for governor in 1848; and the notes of defiance 
compelled the Concord statesman to send for Dix again, who 
graciously relieved him of his embarrassment.^ Then the 
President turned to William L. Marcy, whose return from 
Florida was coincident with the intrigue against Dix. The 
former secretary of war had not mustered with the Free- 
soilers, but his attitude at Baltimore made him persona non 
grata to Dickinson. This kept Pierce in trouble. He wanted 
a New Yorker, but he wanted peace, and so he delayed action 
until the day after his inauguration.* When it proved to be 

' "Seymour resisted the Barnburner revolt of 1847, and supported 
Cass for President in 1848. But he warmly espoused the move- 
ment to reunite the party the next year. He was in advance of 
Marey in that direction. Seymour pushed forward, while Marcy 
hung back. Seymour rather liked the Barnburners, except John 
Van Buren, of whom he was quite jealous and somewhat afraid. 
But Marcy, after the experiences of 1847 and 184g, denounced them 
in hard terms, until Seymour and the Free-soil Democrats began 
talking of him for President in 1852, when the wily old Eegency 
tactician mellowed toward them. Nothing was wanted to carry 
Marcy clear over except the hostility of Dickinson, who stood in 
his way to the White House. This he soon encountered, which 
reconciled him to the Barnburners." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recol- 
lections, p. 177. 

^ Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. Dix, Vol. 1, p. 271. 

' lUd., Vol. 1, p. 272. 

* "To satisfy the greatest number was the aim of the President, 
to whom this problem became the subject of serious thoughts and 
many councils; and although the whole Cabinet, as finally an- 
nounced, was published in the newspapers one week before the 
inauguration. Pierce did not really decide who should be secretary 
of state until he had actually been one day in office, for up to the 
morning of March 5, that portfolio had not been offered to Marcy." — 
James F. Ehodes, History of the United States, Vol. 1, p. 389. 

182 THE HAEDS AND THE SOFTS [Chap. jov. 

Marcy, with Dix promised the mission to France,' and Dick- 
inson offered nothing better than the collectorship of the 
port of New York, the Hunkers waited for an opportunity to 
make their resentment felt. 

This was the situation when the Democratic state conven- 
tion met at Syracuse on September 13, 1853, with thirty-six 
contested seats. The faction that won these would legally 
control the convention. When the doors opened, therefore 
an eager crowd, amidst the wildest confusion and uproar, 
took possession of the hall, and, with mingled cheers and 
hisses, two chairmen were quickly nominated, declared 
elected, and forced upon the platform. Each chairman pre- 
sided. Two conventions occupied one room ; and that one fac- 
tion might have peaceable possession it tried to put the other 
out. Finally, when out of breath and out of patience, both 
factions agreed to submit the contest for seats to a vote of 
the convention ; and while the roll was being prepared the 
riotous proceedings were adjourned until four o'clock. But 
the Hunkers had seen and heard enough. It was evident the 
Barnburners proposed organising the convention after the 
tactics of the Hunkers in 1847 ; and, instead of returning to 
the hall, the Hunkers went elsewhere, organising a conven- 
tion with eighty-one delegates, including the contestants. 
Here everything was done in order and with dispatch. Com- 

" "The President offered Dix the mission to France. The time fixed 
■was early in the summer of that year. Meanwhile passage was 
taken for Havre, preparations for a four years' residence abroad 
were made, and every arrangement was completed which an antici- 
pated absence from home renders necessary. But political intrigne 
was instantly resumed, and again with complete success. The op- 
position now came, or appears to have come, mainly from certain 
Southern politicians. Charges were made — such, for example, as 
this: that General Dix was an Abolitionist, and that the Administra- 
tion would be untrue to the South by allowing a man of that extreme 
and fanatical party to represent it abroad. . . . But though these 
insinuations were repelled, the influence was too strong to be re- 
sisted. In fact, the place was wanted for an eminent gentleman 
from Virginia." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. Dix, Vol. 1, pp. 
273, 274, 275. 


mittees on permanent officers, resolutions, and nominations 
made unanimous reports to a unanimous convention, 
speeches were vociferously applauded, and the conduct of 
the Barnburners fiercely condemned. Governor Willard of 
Indiana, who happened to be present, declared, in a thrilling 
speech, that a "bully" stood ready to shoot down the Hunker 
chairman as he tried to call the convention to order. One of 
the delegates said he thought his life was in danger as he 
saw a man with an axe under his arm. But in their hall of 
refuge no one appeared to molest them; and by six o'clock 
the convention had completed its work and adjourned. 
Among those nominated for office appeared the names of 
George W. Clinton of Buffalo, the distinguished son of De- 
Witt Clinton, for secretary of state, and James T. Brady, the 
brilliant lawyer of New York City, for attorney-general. The 
resolutions indorsed the Baltimore platform, approved the 
President's inaugural on slavery, commended the amend- 
ment to the Constitution appropriating ten and a half mil- 
lion dollars for the enlargement and completion of the 
canals, and complimented Daniel S. Dickinson. 

Meanwhile the Barnburners, having reassembled at four 
o'clock with eighty-seven delegates, sent word to the Hun- 
kers that the convention was in session and prepared to or- 
ganise. To this the chairman replied : "We do not consider 
ourselves in safety in an assemblage controlled and overawed 
by bullies, imported for that purpose." The Barnburners 
laughed, but in order to give the Hunkers time to sleep over 
it John Van Buren opposed further proceedings until the 
next day. In the evening, Horatio Seymour, now the Gov- 
ernor, met the convention leaders and with them laid out the 
morrow's work. 

When Seymour began co-operating with the Barnburners, 
ambition prompted him to modify his original canal views 
so far as to oppose the Whig law authorising a loan of nine 
million dollars to enlarge the Erie canal. But after his elec- 
tion as governor, he recognised that no party could success- 
fully appeal to the people in November, 1853, weighted with 

184 THE HAEDS AND THE SOFTS [Chap. xiv. 

such a policy ; and with courage and genius for diplomatic 
negotiations, he faced the prejudices which had characterised 
the Barnburners during their entire history by favouring a 
constitutional amendment appropriating ten and a half mil- 
lions for the enlargement of the Erie and the completion of 
the lateral canals. He had displayed a bold hand. The help 
of the Barnburners was needed to carry the amendment ; and 
when the regular session expired without the accomplish- 
ment of his purpose Seymour quickly called an extra session. 
Even this dragged into the summer. Finally, in June, to 
the amazement of the people, the amendment passed and was 
approved. It was this work, which had so brilliantly inau- 
gurated his administration, that Seymour desired indorsed, 
and, although it was morning, and not very early morning, 
before the labour of the night ended, it was agreed to adopt 
a canal resolution similar to that of the Hunkers and to in- 
dorse the Governor's administration, a compliment which the 
Hunkers carefully avoided. 

After the settlement of the canal question, the work of the 
convention was practically done. A majority of the candi- 
dates were taken from the supporters of Cass in 1848, and 
included Charles H. Ruggles of Poughkeepsie, and Hiram 
Denio of Utica, whom the Hunkers had nominated for judges 
of the Court of Appeals. Euggles was the wise chairman of 
the judiciary committee in the constitutional convention 
of 1846, and had been a member of the Court of Appeals since 
1851. Denio was destined to become one of the eminent 
judges of the State. He was not always kind in his methods. 
Indeed, it may be said that he was one of those upright 
judges who contrived to make neither honour nor rectitude 
seem lovable qualities ; yet his abilities finally earned him an 
enviable reputation as a justice of New York's court of last 
7 The factions differed little in men or in principle, 
. and not at all upon the question of slavery. Two conventions 
were, therefore, absolutely unnecessary except upon the 
theory that the Hunkers, having little to gain and nothing 


to lose, desired to embarrass the administrations of Gover- 
nor Seymour and President Pierce. Their secession was cer- 
tainly not prompted by fear of bullies. Neither faction was 
a stranger to blows. If fear possessed the Hunkers, it grew 
out of distrust of their supporters and of their numerical 
strength; and, rather than be beaten, they preferred to fol- 
low the example of the Barnburners in 1847, and of the Sil- 
ver-Grays in 1850, two precedents that destroyed party loy- 
alty to gratify the spirit of revenge. 

It was at this time that the Hunkers were first called'"^. 
Hardshells or "Hards," and the Barnburners Softshells or 
"Softs." These designations meant that Dickinson and his 
followers never changed their principles, and that the Marcy- 
Seymour coalition trimmed its sails to catch the favouring 

The action of the Hards in September, 1853, left the pres- 
tige of regularity with the Softs. The latter also had the 
patronage of the state and national administrations, the 
possession of Tammany, and the support of a large majority 
of the newspapers. But the Hards still treated the Softs 
as the real secessionists. "We have gotten rid of the mis- 
chievous traitors," said Daniel S. Dickinson, in his Buffalo 
speech of September 23, "and let us keep clear of them. It 
is true they say we are all on one platform, but when did 
we get there? No longer ago than last winter, when such 
resolutions as the platform now embodies were introduced 
into the Assembly, a cholera patient could not have scattered 
these very men more effectually."® Dickinson was not 
blessed with John Van Buren's humour. A flash of wit rarely 
enlivened his speeches, yet he delighted in attacking an ad- 
versary even if compelled to do it with gloomy, dogged 
rhetoric. Of all the Softs, however, Horatio Seymour was 
the one whom Dickinson hated. "It was the first time a gov- 
ernor was ever found in their convention," continued the 
Binghamton statesman, "and I know it will be the last time 
that Governor will be guilty of such an impropriety. He 
"New York Tribune, September 27, 1833. 

186 THE HAKDS AND THE SOFTS [Cbap. xrr. 

tempted them on with spoils in front, while the short boys 
of New York pricked them up with bowie knives in the 

Seymour appears to have taken Dickinson's animosity, as 
he took most things, with composure. Nevertheless, if he 
looked for harmony on election day, the letters of Charles 
O'Conor and Greene C. Bronson, declining an invitation to 
ratify the Softs' ticket at a meeting in Tammany Hall, must 
have extinguished the hope. O'Conor was United States at- 
torney and Bronson collector of the port of New York; but 
these two office-holders under Pierce used no varnish in their 
correspondence with the Pierce-Seymour faction. "As a 
lover of honesty in politics and of good order in society," 
wrote Bronson, "I cannot approve of nominations brought 
about by fraud and violence. Those who introduce convicts 
and bullies into our conventions for the purpose of control- 
ling events must not expect their proceedings will be sanc- 
tioned by me." Then he betrayed the old conservative's deep 
dislike of the Radicals' canal policy, the memory of which 
still rankled. "If all the nominees were otherwise unexcep- 
tionable," he continued, "they come before the public under 
the leadership of men who have been striving to defeat the 
early completion of the public works, and after the shameless 
breach of past pledges in relation to the canals, there can be 
no reasonable ground for hope that new promises will be 

Charles O'Conor, with the envenomed skill of a practised 
prosecutor coupled with a champion's coolness, aimed a 
heavier blow at the offending Softs. "Judging the tickets 
by the names of the leading members of the two conventions 
no reasonable doubt can be entertained which of them is 
most devoted to preserving union and harmony between the 
States of this confederacy. One of the conventions was un- 
contaminated by the presence of a single member ever known 
as an agitator of principles or practices tending in any de- 

' New York Tribune, September 27, 1853. 
'ma., September 26, 1853. 


gree to disturb that union and harmony; the leaders of the 
other were but recently engaged in a course of political ac- 
tion directly tending to discord between the States. It has, 
indeed, presented a platform of principles unqualifiedly de- 
nouncing that political organisation as dangerous to the per- 
manency of the Union and inadmissible among Democrats; 
but when it is considered that the leaders, with one unim- 
pressive exception, formerly withheld assent to that plat- 
form, or repudiated it, the resolution adopting it is not, in 
my opinion, entitled to any confidence whatever. I adopt 
that ticket which was made by a convention whose platform 
was adopted with sincerity and corresponds with the politi- 
cal life and actions of its framers."^ 

Bronson's letter was dated September 22, 1853; and in 
less than a month he was removed from his post as collector. 
In resentment, several county conventions immediately an- 
nounced him as their candidate for governor in 1854. 
O'Conor continued in ofQce a little longer, but eventually he 
resigned. "This proscriptive policy for opinion's sake will 
greatly accelerate and aggravate the decomposition of the 
Democratic party in this State," said the Tribune. "That 
process was begun long since, but certain soft-headed quacks 
had thought it possible, by some hocus pocus, to restore the 
old unity and health."" 

The Whigs delayed their state convention until the 5th of 
October. Washington Hunt, its chairman, made a strong 
plea for harmony, and in the presence of almost certain vic- 
tory, occasioned by a divided Democracy, the delegates 
turned their attention to the work of making nominations. 
It took three ballots to select a candidate for attorney-gen- 
eral. Among the aspirants were Ogden Hoffman of New 
York and lioscoe Conkling of Utica, then a young man of 
twenty-five, who bore a name that was already familiar from 
an honourable parentage. The people of Oneida had elected 
him district attorney as soon as he gained his majority, and, 

° New York Tribune, September 26, 1853. 
" lUd., October 24, 1853. 

188 THE HAEDS AND THE SOFTS [Chap. xiv. 

in the intervening years, the successful lawyer had rapidly 
proved himself a successful orator and politician who would 
have to be reckoned with.^^ 

But Conkling did not get the coveted attorney-generalship. 
The great reputation of Ogden Hoffman, who has been styled 
''the Erskine of the American bar," and who then stood in 
isolated splendour among the orators of his party, gave him 
the right of way. Hoffman had served in Congress during 
Van Buren's administration and as United States attorney 
under Harrison and Tyler. He was now sixty years of age, 
a fit opponent to the brilliant Brady, twenty-two years his 
junior. "But for indolence," said Horace Greeley, "Hoffman 
might have been governor or cabinet minister ere this. 
Everybody likes him and he always runs ahead of his 
ticket."" There was also an earnest effort to secure a place 
upon the ticket for Elbridge G. Spaulding of Buffalo. He 
had been district attorney, city clerk, alderman, and mayor 
of his city. In 1848 he went to the Assembly and in 1849 
to Congress. He had already disclosed the marked ability 
for finance that subsequently characterised his public and 
business career, giving him the distinguishing title of 
"father of the greenback." His friends now wanted to make 
him comptroller, but when this place went to James M. Cook 
of Saratoga, a thrifty banker and manufacturer, who had 
been state treasurer, Spaulding accepted the latter ofSce. In 
its platform, the convention hailed with satisfaction the 
prospect of a speedy completion of the canals under Whig 
management, and boasted that the Democrats had at last 
been forced to accept the Whig policy, "so necessary to the 
greatness and prosperity of the State." 

The success of the Whigs was inevitable. The secession of 

" "With advancing- years Mr. Conkling's temperament changed 
slightly. The exactions of legal life, and, to some extent, the needs 
of his political experience, apparently estranged him from the 
masses, although he was naturally one of the most approachable 
of men." — Alfred E. Conkling, The Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling, 
pp. 203, 204. 

»=New York Tribune, October 6, 1853. 

1853] A WHIG VICTOEY 189 

the Hards could not operate otherwise than in a division of 
the Democratic vote; but no one dreamed it would split 
the party in the middle. The Hards had fought against the 
prestige of party regularity, the power of patronage, the in- 
fluence of Tammany, and the majority of the press, while the 
removal of Bronson served notice upon office-holders that 
those who favoured the Hards voluntarily mounted a guillo- 
tine. "Heads of this class," said Greeley, "rolled as reck- 
lessly as pumpkins from a harvest wagon."^^ Yet the Softs 
led the Hards by an average majority of only 312. It was a 
tremendous surprise at Washington. A cartoon represented 
Pierce and Marcy as Louis XVI and his minister, on the 
memorable 10th of August. "Why, this is revolt!" said the 
amazed King. "No, sire," responded the minister, "it is 

The Whigs polled 102,000 votes, electing their state officers 
by an average plurality of 66,000 and carrying the Legisla- 
ture by a majority of forty -eight on joint ballot. Yet Bug- 
gies and Denio, whose names appeared upon the ticket of 
each Democratic faction, were elected to the Court of Ap- 
peals by 13,000 majority, showing that a united Democratic 
party would have swept the State as it did in 1852. 

The Whigs accepted their success as Sheridan said the 
English recefved the peace of Amiens — as "one of which 
everybody was glad and nobody was proud." Of the 240,000 
Whigs who voted in 1852, less than 170,000 supported the 
ticket in 1853. Some of this shrinkage was doubtless due to 
the natural falling off in an "off year" and to an unusually 
stormy election day ; but there were evidences of open revolt 
and studied apathy which emphasised the want of harmony 
and the necessity for fixed principles. 

"New York Tribwie, October 8, 1853. 




While the Hards and Softs quarrelled, and the Whigs 
showed weakness because of a want of harmony and the lack 
of principles, a great contest was being waged at Washing- 
ton. In December, 1853, Stephen A. Douglas, from his place 
in the United States Senate, introduced the famous Nebraska 
bill affirming that the Clay compromise of 1850 had repealed 
the Missouri compromise of 1820. This sounded the trumpet 
of battle. The struggle of slavery and freedom was now to 
be fought to a finish. The discussion in Congress began in 
January, 1854, and ended on May 30. When it commenced 
the slavery question seemed settled ; when it closed the coun- 
try was in a ferment. Anti-slavery Whigs found companion- 
ship with Free-soil Democrats ; the titles of "Nebraska" and 
"Anti-Nebraska" distinguished men's politics; conventions 
of Democrats, Whigs, and Free-soilers met to resist "the 
iniquity ;" and on July 6 the Republican party, under whose 
banner the great flght was to be finished, found a birthplace 
at Jackson, Michigan. 

Rufus King's part in the historic struggle of the Missouri 
Compromise was played by William H. Seward in the great 
contest over its repeal. He was the leader of the anti-slavery 
Whigs of the country, just as his distinguished predecessor 
had been the leader of the anti-slavery forces in 1820. He 
marshalled the opposition, and, when he finally took the floor 
on the 17th of February, he made a legal argument as close, 
logical, and carefully considered as if addressed to the Su- 
preme Court of the United States. He developed the history 
of slavery and its successive compromises; he answered 



every argument in favour of the bill ; he appealed to its sup- 
porters to admit that they never dreamed of its abrogating 
the compromise of 1820; he ridiculed the idea that it was 
in the interest of peace ; and he again referred to the "higher 
law" that had characterised his speech in 1850. "The sla- 
very agitation you deprecate so much," he said in concluding, 
"is an eternal struggle between conservatism and progress ; 
between truth and error; between right and wrong. You 
may sooner, by act- of Congress, compel the sea to suppress 
its upheavings, and the round earth to extinguish its inter- 
nal fires. You may legislate, and abrogate, and abnegate, as 
you will, but there is a Superior Power that overrules all; 
that overrules not only all your actions and all your refusals 
to act, but all human events, to the distant but inevitable 
result of the equal and universal liberty of all men."^ 

Seward was not an orator. He could hardly be called an 
effective speaker. He was neither impassioned nor always 
impressive; but when he spoke he seemed to strike a blow 
that had in it the whole vigour and strength of the public 
sentiment which he represented. So far as one can judge 
from contemporary accounts he never spoke better than on 
this occasion; or when it was more evident that he spoke 
with all the sincere emotion of one whose mind and heart 
alike were filled with the cause for which he pleaded. "Some 
happy spell," he wrote his wife, "seemed to have come over 
me and to have enabled me to speak with more freedom and 
ease than on any former occasion here."^ Rhodes suggests 
that Seward "could not conceal his exultation that the Demo- 
crats had forsaken their high vantage ground and played 
into the hands of their opponents."^ He became almost 
dramatic when he threw down his gauntlet at the feet of 
every member of the Senate in 1850 and challenged him to 
say that he knew, or thought, or dreamed, that by enacting 
the compromise of 1850 he was directly or indirectly abro- 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. B. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 221. 

'Ibid., p. 222. 

•James F. Bhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 1, p. 453. 


gating, or in any degree impairing the Missouri Compromise. 
''If it were not irreverent," he continued, "I would dare call 
up the author of both the compromises in question, from his 
honoured, though yet scarcely grass-covered grave, and chal- 
lenge any advocate of this measure to confront that impe- 
rious shade, and say that, in making the compromise of 1850, 
Henry Clay intended or dreamed that he was subverting or 
preparing the way for a subversion of his greater work of 
1820. Sir, if that spirit is yet lingering here over the scene 
of its mortal labours, it is now moved with more than human 
indignation against those who are perverting its last great 
public act."* 

Seward's speech created a profound impression through- 
out New York and the North. "It probably affected the 
minds of more men," says Rhodes, "than any speech deliv- 
ered on that side of this question in Congress."'* Senator 
Houston had it translated into German and extensively cir- 
culated among the Germans of western Texas. Even Edwin 
Croswell congratulated him upon its excellence. It again 
directed the attention of the country to his becoming a presi- 
dential candidate, about which newspapers and politicians 
had already spoken. Montgomery Blair's letter of May 17, 
1873, to Gideon Welles, charges Seward with boasting that 
he had "put Senator Dixon up to moving the repeal of the 
Missouri Compromise as an amendment to Douglas' first 
Kansas bill, and had himself forced the repeal by that move- 
ment, and had thus brought life to the Republican party."° 
Undoubtedly Seward read the signs of the times, and saw 
clearly and quickly that repeal would probably result in a 
political revolution, bringing into life an anti-slavery party 
that would sweep the country. But the charge that he 
claimed to have suggested the repeal, smells too strongly of 
Welles' dislike of Seward, and needs other evidence than 
Blair's telltale letter to support it. It is on a par with Sen- 

* F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 220. 

' James F. Rhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 1, p. 453. 

"Gideon Welles, lAncoln and Seward, p. 68. 


ator Atchinson's assertion, made under the influence of wine, 
that he forced Douglas to bring in the Nebraska bill — a 
statement that the Illinois Senator promptly stamped as 

The temper of the people of the State began to change very 
soon after the introduction of Douglas' proposal. Remon- 
strances, letters, and resolutions poured in from Albany, 
Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and other cities. Senator Fish 
presented a petition headed by the Bishop of the Episcopal 
Church and signed by a majority of the clergymen of New 
York City. Merchants, lawyers, and business men generally, 
who had actively favoured the compromise of 1850, now 
spoke in earnest protest against the repeal of the compromise 
of 1820. From the first, the Germans opposed it. Of their 
newspapers only eight out of eighty-eight were favourable. 
Public meetings, full of enthusiasm and noble sentiment, re- 
sembled religious gatherings enlisted in a holy war against 
a great social evil. The first assembled in New York City as 
early as January 30, six days after the repeal was agreed 
upon. Another larger meeting occurred on the 18th of Feb- 
ruary. It was here that Henry Ward Beecher's great genius 
asserted the fulness of its intellectual power. He had been 
in Brooklyn five years. The series of forensic achievements 
which began at the Kossuth banquet in 1851 had already 
made him the favourite speaker of the city, but, on the 18th 
of February, he became the idol of the anti-slavery host. 
Wit, wisdom, patriotism, and pathos, mingled with the loft- 
iest strains of eloquence, compelled the attention and the ad- 
miration of every listener. When he concluded the whole 
assembly rose to do him honour ; tears rolled down the cheeks 
of men and women. Everything was forgotten, save the 
great preacher and the cause for which he stood. "The storm 
that is rising," wrote Seward, "is such an one as this country 
has never yet seen. The struggle will go on, but it will be a 
struggle for the whole American people.'" In the Tribune 
of May 17, Greeley said that Pierce and Douglas had made 
' F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 222. 


more Abolitionists in three months than Garrison and Phil- 
lips could have made in half a century. 

The agitation resulted in an anti-Nebraska state conven- 
tion, held at Saratoga on the 16th of August. It was im- 
portant in the men who composed it. John A. King called 
it to order ; Horace Greeley reported the resolutions ; Henry 
J. Raymond represented the district that had twice sent him 
to the Assembly; and Moses H. Grinnell became chairman 
of its executive committee. In the political struggles of two 
decades most of its delegates had filled prominent and influ- 
ential positions. These men were now brought together by 
an absorbing sense of duty and a common impulse of re- 
sistance to the encroachments of slavery. People supposed 
a new party would be formed and a ticket nominated as in 
Michigan; but after an animated and at times stormy dis- 
cussion, the delegates concluded that in principle too little 
difference existed to warrant the present disturbance of ex- 
isting organisations. So, after declaring sentiments which 
were to become stronger than party ties or party discipline, 
it agreed to reassemble at Auburn on September 26.* 

' "After the passag'e of the Kansas-Nebraska act, it would seem 
as if the course of the opposition were plain. That the different 
elements of opposition should be fused into one complete whole 
seemed political wisdom. That course involved the formation of a 
new party and was urged warmly and persistently by many news- 
papers, but by none with such telling influence as by the New York 
Tribune. It had likewise the countenance of Chase, Sumner, and 
Wade. There were three elements that must be united — the Whigs, 
the Free-soilers, and the Anti-Nebraska Democrats. The Whigs 
were the most numerous body and as those at the North, to a man, 
had opposed the repeal of the Missouri Compromise they thought, 
with some quality of reason, that the fight might well be made 
under their banner and with their name. For the organisation of 
a. party was not the work of a day. Why, then, go to all this 
trouble, when a complete organisation is at hand ready for nse? 
This view of the situation was ably argued by the New York Times, 
and was supported by Senator Seward. As the New York Senator 
had a position of influence superior to any one who had opposed the 
Kansas-Nebraska bill, strenuous efforts were made to get his adhe- 
sion to a new party movement, but they were without avail. 


The Nebraska Act also became a new source of division to 
Democrats. Marcy's opposition, based upon apprehensions 
of its disastrous effect in New York, was so pronounced that 
he contemplated resigning as secretary of state — ^a step that 
his friends persuaded him to abandon. John Van Buren 
was equally agitated. "Could anything but a desire to buy 
the South at the presidential shambles dictate such an out- 
rage?'" he asked Senator Clemens of Alabama. But nothing 
could stop the progress of the Illinois statesman ; and, while 
the Whigs of New York ably and uniformly opposed repeal. 
Democrats broke along the lines dividing the Hards and the 
Softs. Of twenty-one Democratic congressmen, nine fa- 
voured and twelve opposed it. Among the former was Wil- 
liam M. Tweed, the unsavoury boss of later years; among: 
the latter, Reuben E. Fenton, Kufus W. Peckham, and Eus- 
Jsell Sage. The Democratic press separated along similar 
°^ lines. Thirty-seven Hards supported the measure; thirty- 
eight Softs opposed it. 

The Hards held their state convention on the 12th of July. 
Their late trial of strength with the Softs had resulted in a 
drawn battle, and it was now their purpose to force the 
Fierce-Seymour Softs out of the party. The proceedings 

'Seward hangs fire,' wrote Br. Bailey. 'He agrees with Thurlow 
Weed.'— (Bailey to J. S. Pike, May 30, 1854, First Slows of the Civil 
War, p. 237.) 'We are not yet ready for a great national convention 
at Buffalo or elsewhere,' wrote Seward to Theodore Parker; 'it 
would bring together only the old veterans. The States are the 
places for activity just now.' — {Life of Seward, Vol. 2, p. 232.) Yet 
many Whigs who were not devoted to machine politics saw clearly 
that a new party must be formed under a new name. They dif- 
fered, however, in regard to their bond of union. Some wished to 
go to the country with simply Repeal of the Kansas-Nebraska act in- 
scribed on their banner. Others wished to plant themselves squarely 
on prohibition of slavery in all the territories. Still others pre- 
ferred the resolve that not another slave State should be admitted 
into the Union. Yet after all, the time seemed ripe for the forma- 
tion of a party whose cardinal principle might be summed up as 
opposition to the extension of slavery." — James F. Bhodes, Historff 
of tJie United States, Vol. 2, p. 45-7. 
• New York Evening Post, February 11, 1854. 


began with a challenge. Lyman Tremaine spoke of the con- 
vention as one in which the President had no minions; 
Samuel Beardsley, the chairman, after charging Pierce with 
talking one way and acting another, declared that the next 
Chief Executive would both talk and act like a national 
Democrat. Further, to emphasise its independence and dis- 
like of the President, the convention nominated Greene C. 
Bronson for governor as the representative of Pierce's pro- 
scriptive policy for opinion's sake. But there was no dispo- 
sition to criticise Pierce's pro-slavery policy. It favoured 
the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, proclaiming the doc- 
trine of non-intervention by Congress and the right of the 
territories to make their own local laws, including regula- 
tions relating to domestic servitude. It also approved the 
recently ratified canal amendment and strongly favoured the 
prohibitive liquor law vetoed by Governor Seymour. 

Greene C. Bronson's career had been distinguished. He had 
served as assemblyman, as attorney-general for seven years, 
as chief justice of the Supreme Court, and as an original 
member of the Court of Appeals. Although now well advanced 
in years, age had not cowed his spirit or lessened the purity 
of a character which shone in the gentleness of amiable man- 
ners; but his pro-slavery platform hit his consistency a hard 
blow. In 1819, as secretary of a mass-meeting called to op- 
pose the Missouri Compromise, he had declared that Con- 
gress possessed the clear and indisputable power to prohibit 
the admission of slavery in any State or territory thereafter 
to be formed. If this was good law in 1819 it was good law 
in 1854, and the acceptance of a contrary theory put him at 
a serious disadvantage. His attitude on the liquor question 
also proved a handicap. He showed that the position of judge 
in interpreting the law was a very different thing from that 
of making the law by steering a party into power in a crucial 

The convention of the Softs followed on September 6. Two 
preliminary caucuses indicated a strong anti-Nebraska sen- 
timent. But a bold and resolute opposition, led by federal 

1854] THE SOFTS SPLIT 197 

officials and John Cochrane, the Barnburners' platform- 
maker, portended trouble. There was no disagreement on 
state issues. The approval of Seymour's administration set- 
tled the policy of canal improvement and anti-prohibition, 
but the delegates balked on the cunningly worded resolution 
declaring the repeal of the Missouri Compromise inexpedi- 
ent and unnecessary, yet rejoicing that it would benefit the 
territories and forbidding any attempt to undo it. It put the 
stamp of Nebraska upon the proceedings, and the deathlike 
stillness which greeted its reading shook the nerves of the 
superstitious as an unfavourable omen. Immediately, a short 
substitute was offered, unqualifiedly disapproving the repeal 
as a violation of legislative good faith and of the spirit of 
Christian civilisation ; and when Preston King took the floor 
in its favour the deafening applause disclosed the fact that 
the anti-Nebraskans had the enthusiasm if not the numbers. 
As the champion of the Wilmot Proviso concluded, the as- 
sembly resembled the Buffalo convention of 1848 at the mo- 
ment of its declaration for free soil, free speech, free labour, 
and free men. But the roll call changed the scene. Of 
the 394 delegates, 245 voted to lay the substitute on the 

This result was a profound surprise. The public expected 
different action and the preliminary caucuses showed an 
anti-Nebraska majority ; but the Custom-House had done its 
work well. The promise of a nomination for lieutenant-gov- 
ernor had changed the mind of William H. Ludlow, chair- 
man of the convention, who packed the committee on resolu- 
tions. Similar methods won fifty other delegates. But de- 
spite the shock, Preston King did not hesitate. He might be 
broken, but he could not be bent. Rising with dignity he 
withdrew from the convention, followed by a hundred others 
who ceased to act further with it. Subsequent proceedings 
reflected the gloom of a body out of which the spirit had de- 
parted. Delegates kept dropping out until only one hundred 
and ninety-nine remained to cheer the nomination of Horatio 
Seymour. On a roll call for lieutenant-governor, Philip Dor- 


sheimer declared it a disgrace to have his name called in a 
convention that had adopted such a platform. 

The Whig convention followed on September 20. A di- 
vided Democracy again made candidates confident, and eight 
or ten names were presented for governor. Horace Greeley 
thought it time his turn should come. He had been pro- 
nounced in his advocacy of the Maine liquor law and active 
in his hostility to the Nebraska Act. As these were to be the 
issues of the campaign, he applied with confidence to Weed 
for help. The Albany editor frankly admitted that his 
friends had lost control of the conventioji, and that Myron H. 
Clark would probably get the nomination. Then Greeley 
asked to be made lieutenant-governor. Weed reminded him 
of the outcry in the Whig national convention of 1848 
against having "cotton at both ends of the ticket." "I sup- 
pose you mean," replied Greeley, laughing, "that it won't do 
to have prohibition at both ends of our state ticket."^" But, 
though he laughed, the editor of the Tribune went away net- 
tled and humiliated. In the contest, which became exciting, 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, "Vol. 2, p. 226. 

"Mr. Greeley called upon me at the Astor House and asked if 
I did not think that the time and circumstances were favourable 
to his nomination. I replied that I did not think the time and 
circumstances favourable to his election, if nominated, but that my 
friends had lost control of the state convention. This answer 
perplexed him, but a few words of explanation made it quite clear. 
Admitting that he had brought the people up to the point of accept- 
ing a temperance candidate for governor, I remarked that another 
aspirant had 'stolen his thunder.' In other words, while he had 
shaken the temperance bush, Myron H. Clark would catch the bird. 
I informed Mr. Greeley that Know-Nothing or 'Choctaw' lodges 
had been secretly organised throughout the State, by means of 
which many delegates for Mr. Clark had been secured. Mr. Greeley 
saw that the 'slate' had been broken, and cheerfully relinquished 
the idea of being nominated. But a few days afterwards Mr. Greeley 
came to Albany, and said in an abrupt but not unfriendly way, 'Is 
there any objection to my running for lieutenant-governor?' . . . 
After a little more conversation, Mr. Greeley became entirely satis- 
fied that a nomination for lieutenant-governor was not desirable, 
and left me in good spirits."— /6id., Vol. 2, p. 226. 

1854] MYEON H. CLARK 199 

Greeley's friends urged his selection for governor without 
formally presenting his name to the convention ; but on the 
third ballot Clark received the nomination, obtaining 82 out 
of the 132 votes cast. 

Myron H. Clark, now in his forty-ninth year, belonged to 
the class of men generally known as fanatics. He was a 
plain man of humble pretensions and slender attainments. 
He was originally a cabinet-maker and afterward a mer- 
chant. Then he became a reformer. He sympathised with 
the Native Americans; he approved Seward's views upon 
slavery ; and he interested himself in the workingmen. But 
his hobby was temperance. Its advocates made his home in 
Canandaigua their headquarters, and during the temperance 
revival which swept over the State in the early fifties, he 
aided in directing the movement. This experience opened his 
way, in 1851, to the State Senate. Here he displayed some 
of the legislative gifts that distinguished John Young. He 
had patience and persistence ; he could talk easily and well ; 
and, underneath his enthusiasm, lingered the shrewdness of 
a skilled diplomat. When, at last, the Maine liquor bill, 
which he had introduced and engineered, passed the Legisla- 
ture, his name was a household word throughout the State. 
Seymour's veto of the measure strengthened Clark. People 
realised that a governor no less than a legislature was 
needed to make laws, and, with the spirit of reformers, the 
delegates demanded his nomination. To Weed it seemed 
hazardous ; but a majority of the convention, believing that 
Clark's public career had been sagacious and upright, re- 
fused to take another. 

Clark's nomination made the selection of a candidate for 
lieutenant-governor more difficult. The prohibitionists were 
satisfied; Greeley was not. In their anxiety, the delegates 
canvassed several names without result. Finally, with great 
suddenness and amidst much enthusiasm, Henry J. Raymond 
was nominated. This deeply wounded Greeley. "He had 
cheerfully withdrawn his own name," wrote Weed, "but he 
could not submit patiently to the nomination of his per- 


sonal, professional, and political rival."^^ Greeley believed 
it was not the convention, but Weed himself, who brought it 
about. On the contrary, Weed declared that he had no 
thought of Raymond in that connection until his name was 
suggested by others. Nevertheless, the Tribune's editor held 
to his own opinion. "No other name could have been put 
upon the ticket so bitterly humbling to me,"^^ he afterward 
wrote Seward. To Greeley, Raymond was "The little Vil- 
lain of the Times;" to Raymond, Greeley was "The big Vil- 
lain of the Trihune."^^ In any aspect, Raymond was an un- 
fortunate nomination for Weed, since it began the quarrel 
that culminated in the defeat of Seward at Chicago in 1860. 

Early in the campaign, Greeley favoured dropping the 
name of Whig and organising an anti-Nebraska or Repub- 
lican party, with a ticket of Whigs and Democrats, as had 
been done in some of the Western States. But Seward and 
Weed, with a majority of the Whig leaders, thought that 
while fusion might be advisable wherever the party was es- 
sentially weak, as in Ohio and Indiana, it was wiser, in 
States like New York and Massachusetts where Whigs were 
in power, to retain the party name and organisation.^* In 
so deciding, however, they agreed with Greeley that the plat- 
form should be thoroughly' anti-Nebraska, and they gave it 
a touch that kindled the old fire in the hearts of the anti- 
slavery veterans. It condemned the repeal of the Missouri 
Compromise, approved the course of the New York senators 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 227. 

"76i(f., p. 280. 

" In a letter to Charles A. Dana, dated March 2, 1856, Greeley in- 
dicates his feeling toward Eaymond. "Have we got to surrender 
a page of the nextWeefcZj/ toKaymond's bore of an address?" he says, 
i<eferring to the Pittsburgh convention's appeal. "The man who 
could inflict six columns on a long-suffering public, on such an oc- 
casion, cannot possibly know enough to write an address." 

" "I was a member of the first anti-Nebraska or Republican State 
Convention, which met at Saratoga Springs in September; but 
Messrs. Weed and Seward for a while stood aloof from the move- 
ment, preferring to be still regarded as Whigs." — ^Horace Greeley, 
Recollections of a Busy Life, p. 314. 


and representatives who resisted it, declared that it dis- 
charged the party from further obligation to support any 
compromise with slavery, and denounced "popular sover- 
eignty" as a false and deceptive cry, "too flimsy to mislead 
any but those anxious to be deluded and eager to be led 
astray." This declaration of principles was summarised as 
"Justice, Temperance, and Freedom." One delegate, amidst 
great applause, said he felt glorified that the party was dis- 
enthralled and redeemed. Koscoe Conkling, a vice president, 
spoke of the convention as belonging to "the Republican 
party." Greeley declared the platform "as noble as any friend 
of freedom could have expected." Other state organisations 
also approved it. The anti-Nebraska convention, upon reas- 
sembling in Auburn on September 26, adopted the Whig 
ticket. The state temperance convention indorsed the nomi- 
nation of Clark and Raymond, and the Free Democrats ac- 
cepted Clark. This practically made a fusion ticket. 

Early in October the Native Americans went into council. 
This organisation, which had elected a mayor of New York 
in 1844, suddenly revived in 1854 ; and, in spite of its intoler- 
ant and prescriptive spirit, the movement spread rapidly. 
Mystery surrounded its methods. It held meetings in un- 
known places; its influence could not be measured; and its 
members professed to know nothing. Thus it became known 
as the "Know-Nothing" party. Members recognised each 
other by the casual inquiry, "Have you seen Sam ?" and when 
one of the old parties collapsed at a local election the reply 
came, "We have seen Sam." Its secrecy fascinated young 
men, and its dominant principle, "America for Americans," 
stirred them into unusual activity. The skilful use of patri- 
otic phrases also had its influence. The "Star Spangled Ban- 
ner" was its emblem, Washington its patron saint, and his 
thrilling command, "Put none but Americans on guard to- 
night," its favourite password. Henry Wilson of Massachu- 
setts joined it as an instrument for destroying the old parties, 
which he regarded an obstacle to freedom; but Seward 
thought this was doing evil that good might come. Every- 


thing is un-American, he argued, which makes a distinction 
between the native-born American and the one who 
jenounces his allegiance to a foreign land and swears fealty 
to the country that adopts him. "Why," he asked, "should 
I exclude the foreigner to-day? He is only what every Amer- 
ican citizen or his ancestor was at some time or other."^" 

The voting strength of this party in New York was esti- 
mated at 65,000, divided between Hards, Softs, and Whigs, 
with one-fifth each, and the Silver-Grays with two-fifths. On 
the question of putting up a state ticket, its council divided. 
The Silver-Grays, it was said, favoured candidates in order 
to defeat Clark ; while the Whigs and Softs preferred making 
no nominations. In the end, Daniel UUman, a reputable 
New York lawyer of mediocre ability, received the nomina- 
tion for governor. The great overmastering passion of UU- 
man was a desire for oflSce. For many years he had been 
a persistent and unsuccessful knocker at the door of city, 
county and state Whig conventions, and when the Know- 
Nothings appeared he turned to them to back his ambition. 
Possibly they knew that his parents were foreign -born, but 
the mystery surrounding his own birthplace became a comi- 
cal feature of the canvass. It was claimed, upon what 
seemed proper evidence at the time, that Ullman was born 
in India and had not become a naturalised citizen of the 
United States. This made him ineligible as the candidate of 
his party, and disqualified him from serving as governor if 

The campaign opened with two clearly defined issues — 
limitation of the liquor trafiic and condemnation of the Ne- 
I)raska Act. Clark stood for both, Ullman stood for neither ; 
Bronson and Seymour opposed prohibition and approved the 
Nebraska Act. Greeley declared that the two Democratic 
candidates differed only "as to whether the contempt univer- 
sally felt for President Pierce should be openly expressed, or 
more decorously cherished in silence." As the canvass ad- 
vanced, the real contest became prohibition, with Bronson 
^' P. W. Seward, Ufe of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 234. 


and Seymour apparently running a race for the liquor vote, 
while Ullman was silently securing the votes of men who 
thought the proscription of foreign-born citizens more im- 
portant than either freedom or temperance. To the most 
adroit political prognosticators the situation was confused. 
Greeley estimated Clark's strength at 200,000, and that of 
the next highest, either Seymour or Bronson, at 150,000 ; but 
so little was known of the Know-Nothings that he omitted 
Ullman from the calculation. Another prophet fixed Ull- 
man's sti'ength at 65,000. The surprise was great, therefore, 
when the returns disclosed a Know-Nothing vote of 122,000, 
with Clark and Seymour running close to 156,000 each, and 
Bronson with less than 35,000. The people did not seem to 
have been thinking about Bronson at all. Seymour's veto 
commended the Governor to the larger cities, and it swept 
him on like a whirlwind. New York gave him 26,000. His 
election was conceded by the Whigs and claimed by the 
Democrats ; but, after several weeks of anxious waiting, the 
oflScial count made Clark the governor by a plurality of 
309.^* Including defective votes plainly intended for Sey- 
-mour, Clark's plurality was only 153. Raymond ran 600 
ahead of Clark, but his plurality over Ludlow was 20,000, 
since the latter's vote was 20,000 less than Seymour's. These 
twenty thousand preferred to vote for Elijah Ford of Buf- 
falo, who ran for lieutenant-governor on the ticket with 
Bronson, possibly because of Ludlow's alleged perfidy at the 
Syracuse convention. Of the congressmen elected, twenty- 
five were Whigs, three Softs, two Anti-Nebraskans, and three 
Know-Nothings ; in the Assembly there were eighty-one 
Whigs, twenty-six Softs, and seventeen Hards. 

The result of the election could scarcely be called a Whig 
victory; but it was a popular rebuke to the Nebraska bill. 
Clark's majority, slender as it finally appeared by the official 
count, was due to the Whigs occupying common ground with 

" Myron H. Clark, 156,804; Horatio Seymour, 156,495; Daniel Ull- 
man, 122,282; Green C. Bronson, 33,850. — Civil List, State of New York 
(1887), p. 166. 


Free-soilers who discarded party attachments in behalf of 
their cherished convictions. The Silver-Grays found a home 
with the Hards and the Know-Nothings, and many Demo- 
crats, unwilling to go to the Whigs, voted for Ullman. 

It was the breaking-up of old parties. The great political 
crisis which had been threatening the country for many 
years was about to burst, and, like the first big raindrops 
that precede a downpour, the changes in 1854 announced 
its presence. It had been so long in coming that John 
W. Taylor of Saratoga, the champion opponent of the Mis- 
souri Compromise, was dying when Horace Greeley, at the 
anti-Nebraska convention held in Taylor's home in August, 
1854, was writing into the platform of the new Repub- 
lican party the principles that Taylor tried to write 
into the old Republican party in 1820. "Whoever reads 
Taylor's speeches in that troubled period," says Stanton, 
"will find them as sound in doctrine, as strong in argument, 
as splendid in diction, as any of the utterances of the follow- 
ing forty-five years, when the thirteenth amendment closed 
the controversy for all time."^' 

"H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 164. John W. Taylor 
served twenty consecutive years in Congress — a longer continuous 
service than any New York successor. Taylor also bears the 
proud distinction of being the only speaker from New^ York. Twice 
he was honoured as the successor of Henry Clay. He died at the 
home of his daughter in Cleveland, Ohio, in September, 1854, at the 
age of seventy, leaving a place in history strongly marked. 




The winter of 1855 became a turning-point in the career 
of William H. Seward. The voice of the anti-slavery Whigs 
proclaimed him the only man fitted by pofeition, ability, and 
character to succeed himself in the United States Senate. 
To them he possessed all the necessary qualities for leader- 
ship. In his hands they believed the banner of opposition to 
the extension of slavery would be kept at the front and every 
other cause subordinated to it. This feeling was generously 
shared by the press of New York. "The repeal of the Mis- 
souri Compromise," said Henry J. Raymond in the Times, 
"has developed a popular sentiment in the North which will 
probably elect Governor Seward to the Presidency in 1856 
by the largest vote from the free States ever cast for any 
candidate."^ Even the Democratic Evening Post admitted 
that "Seward is in the ascendancy in this State.'"' 

The Legislature was overwhelmingly Whig. Nearly three- 
fourths of the Assembly and two-thirds of the Senate had 
been elected as Whigs. Although Seward did not make a 
speech or appear publicly in the campaign of 1854, he had 
been active in seeing that members were chosen who would 
vote for him. But, notwithstanding the Whigs controlled the 
Legislature, many of them belonged to the Know-Nothings, 
whose noisy opposition soon filled the air with rumours of 
their intention to defeat Seward. The secrecy that veiled 
the doings of the order now concealed the strength of their 
numbers ; but, as Seward's course had been suflScient to array 

^ New York Times, June 1. 1854. 

' New York Evening Post, May 23, 1854. 


its entire membership against him, there was little doubt of 
the attitude of all its representatives. Though he had not 
violently denounced them as Douglas did at Philadelphia, 
men of otherwise liberal opinions were angry because he 
seemed deliberately to support views opposed to their most 
cherished principles. His recommendation, while governor, 
to divide the public money with Catholic schools was recalled 
with bitter comment. The more recent efforts of Bishop 
Hughes, an ardent friend of the Senator, to exclude the 
Bible from the public schools, added to the feeling; while 
the coming of a papal nuncio to adjust a controversy in re- 
gard to church property between a bishop and a Catholic 
congregation in Buffalo which had the law of the State on 
its side, greatly increased the bitterness. Thus the old con- 
troversy was torn open, hostility increasing so rapidly that 
Thurlow Weed declared "there is very much peril about thfi 
senator question." ' 

The plan of the Know-Nothings was to prevent an election 
in the Senate and then block a joint session of the two 
houses. This scheme had succeeded in defeating Ambrose i 
Spencer in 1825 and Nathaniel P. Tallmadge in 1845, and 
there was no apparent reason why similar methods might not 
be invoked in 1855, unless the manifest inability of Seward's 
adversaries to unite upon some one opponent gave his sup- 
porters the upper hand. Millard Fillmore, Ira Harris, and j 
Washington Hunt had their friends; but an anti-slavery , 
Know-Nothing could not support Fillmore or Hunt, and a 
Silver-Gray Whig did not take kindly to Harris. This was i 
the corner-stone of Greeley's confidence. Besides, the more [ 
bitter the criticism of Seward's record, the more inclined \ 
were certain senators of the Democratic party, who did not 
sympathise with the Know-Nothing aversion to foreigners, 
to support the Auburn statesman.^ There was no hope for 

' "There is about as much infidelity among' Whigs at Albany as , 
was expected; perhaps a little more. But there is also a counter- 
acting agency in the other party, it is said, which promises to be an 
equilibrium."— F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 243. 


Seymour, or Dix, or Preston King, and some of their friends 
in the Senate who admired the anti-slavery views of Seward 
could stop the play of the Know-Nothings. 

Thus the contest grew fiercer. It was the chief topic in Al- 
bany. All debate ended in its discussion. When, at last, De- 
Witt 0. Littlejohn, vacating the speaker's chair, took the 
floor for the distinguished New Yorker, the excitement 
reached its climax. The speaker's bold and fearless defence 
met a storm of personal denunciation that broke from the 
ranks of the Know-Nothings ; but his speech minimised their 
opposition and inspired Seward's forces to work out a mag- 
nificent victory. "Our friends are in good spirits and reason- 
ably confident," wrote Seward. "Our adversaries are not 
confident, and are oiit of temper."* Finally, on February 1, 
the caucus met. Five Whig senators and twenty assembly- 
men, representing the bulk of the opposition, were absent; 
but of the eighty present, seventy-four voted for Seward. 
This stifled the hope of the Silver-Gray Know-Nothings. In- 
deed, several of Seward's opponents now fell into line, giving 
him eighteen out of thirty-one votes in the Senate and sixty- 
nine out of one hundred and twenty-six in the Assembly. 
The five dissenting Whig senators voted for Fillmore, Ull- 
man, Ogden Hoffman, Preston King, and George R. Babcock 
of Buffalo. Of the nineteen opposing Whig votes in the As- 
sembly, Washington Hunt received nine and Fillmore four. 
When the two houses compared the vote in joint session, 
Henry J. Raymond, the lieutenant-governor, announced with 
evident emotion to a sympathetic audience which densely 
packed the Assembly chamber, that "William H. Seward 
was duly elected as a senator of the United States for six 
years from the fourth of March, 1855." 

Seward did not visit Albany or Auburn during the contest. 
A patent suit kept him busy in New York City until the 
middle of January, after which he returned to his place in 
the Senate. He professed to "have the least possible anxiety 
about it," writing Weed early in December that "I would 

*F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 243. 


not have you suffer one moment's pain on the ground that 
I am not likely to be content and satisfied with whatever may 
happen ;"= yet a letter written five months afterward, on his 
fifty-fifth birthday, gives a glimpse of what defeat would 
have meant to him. ''How happy I am," he says, "that age 
and competence bring no serious and permanent disappoint- 
ment to sour and disgust me with country or mankind."* 
To Weed he shows a heart laden with gratitude. "I snatch 
a minute," he writes, "to express not so much my deep and 
deepened gratitude to ^ou, as my amazement at the magni- 
tude and complexity of the dangers through which you have 
conducted our shattered bark, and the sagacity and skill 
with which you have saved us from so imminent a wreck."^ 
But Seward was not more amazed at the dangers he had es- 
caped than at the great number of congratulations now 
pouring in from opponents. "Was ever anything more 
curious," he writes his wife, "than the fact that this result 
is scarcely more satisfactory to my truest friends, than, as 
it seems, to so many lifelong opponents? We have nothing 
but salutations and congratulations here. How strange the 
mutations of politics."* 

After Seward's re-election the Kansas troubles began at- 
tracting attention. Governor Keeder fixed March 30, 1855, 
for the election of a territorial legislature, and just before 
it occurred five thousand Missourians, "with guns upon their 
shoulders, revolvers scuffing their belts, bowie-knives protrud- 
ing from their boot-tops, and generous rations of whiskey in 
their wagons,'" marched into the territory to superintend 
the voting. This army intimidated such of the election judges 
as were not already pro-slavery men; and of six thousand 
votes, three-fourths of them were cast by the Missourians in 
the interest of slavery. The Northern press recorded the 
fraud. If further evidence were needed, Governor Reeder's 
speech, published in the New York Times of May 1, in which 

"F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Setoard, Vol. 2, p. 243. 

= IMd., p. 251. ' Jbid., p. 245. » IMd., p. 246. 

' SpriBg-'s Kansas, p. 44; see also, Sara Kobinson, Kansas, p. 27. 

1855] THE HAEDS UGLY 209 

he declared that the fierce violence and wild outrages re- 
ported by the newspapers were in no wise exaggerated, set 
all controversy at rest. Instantly the North was in a ferment. 
The predominant sentiment demanded that Kansas should 
be free, and the excitement aroused by the repeal of the Mis- 
souri Compromise was quickly rekindled when the South ap- 
proved the murderous methods intended to make it a slave 
State. A journal published in the pro-slavery interest threat- 
ened "to lynch and hang, tar and feather, and drown every 
white-livered Abolitionist who dares to pollute our soil," and 
secret societies, organised for the purpose of keeping out 
Northern immigrants, resolved "that we recognise the insti- 
tution of slavery as already existing in this territory, and 
advise slave-holders to introduce their property as early as 

As the year went on matters got worse. The territorial 
legislature, elected by admitted and wholesale fraud, un- 
seated all free-state members whose election was contested, 
and proceeded to pass laws upholding and fortifying slavery. 
It declared it a felony, punishable by two years' imprison- 
ment, to write or maintain that persons have not the right 
to hold slaves in the territory ; it disqualified all anti-slavery 
men from sitting as jurors; it made one's presence in the 
territory sufficient qualification to vote ; and it punished with 
death any one who assisted in the escape of fugitive slaves. 
When Eeeder vetoed these acts the Legislature passed them 
over his head and demanded the Governor's removal. To 
add to the popular feeling, already deeply inflamed. Presi- 
dent Pierce met this demand with affirmative action. 

In the midst of this political excitement, the Hards met 
in convention at Syracuse on August 23, 1855. That party 
had been sorely punished in the preceding election; but it 
had in no way changed its attitude toward opponents. It 
refused to invite the Softs to participate; it denounced the 
national administration, and it condemned the Know-Noth- 
ings. Daniel E. Sickles, then thirty-four years old, who was 
destined to play a conspicuous part when the country was 


in difiSculty and the Government in danger, sought to 
broaden and liberalise its work ; but the convention sullenly 
outvoted him. It approved the Nebraska Act, refused to listen 
to appeals in behalf of freedom in Kansas, and rebuked all 
efforts to restore the Missouri Compromise. Only upon the 
liquor question did it modify its former declarations. The, 
Hards had started off in 1854 in favour of prohibition. But 
during the campaign, Bronson changed his position, or, as 
Greeley put it, "he first inclined to water, then to rum and 
water, and finally he came out all rum." To keep in accord 
with their leader's latest change, the delegates now declared 
the prohibitory law unconstitutional and demanded its re- 
peal. This law, passed on April 9, 1855, and entitled "An 
Act for the prevention of intemperance, pauperism, and 
crime," permitted the sale of liquors for mechanical, chemi- 
cal, and medicinal uses; but prohibited the traflSc for other 
purposes. Its regulations, providing for search, prosecu- 
tions, and the destruction of forfeited liquors, were the very 
strongest, and its enforcement gave rise to much litigation. 
Among other things it denied trial by jury. In May, 1856, 
the Court of Appeals declared it unconstitutional. But while 
it lasted it gave the politicians much concern. The Demo- 
crats disapproved and other parties avoided it. 

On August 29, the Softs met in convention. The Barn- 
burners, who had vainly extended the olive branch to the 
Hards, now faced an array of anti-slavery delegates that 
would not condone the Kansas outrages. They would disap- 
prove prohibition, commend Marcy's admirable foreign pol- 
icy, and praise the President's management of the exchequer ; 
but they would not countenance border rufflanism, encourage 
slavery propagandists in Kansas, or submit to the extension 
of slavery in the free territories. It was a stormy convention. 
For three days the contest raged ; but when final action was 
taken, although the platform did not in terms censure 
Pierce's administration, it condemned the Kansas outrages 
which the President had approved by the removal of Gov- 
ernor Reeder, and disapproved the extension of slavery into 


free territories. Among the candidates nominated were Sam- 
nel J. Tilden for attorney-general, and Samuel L. Selden of 
Rocliester for judge of the Court of Appeals. Selden, who 
had been a district judge since 1847, was also nominated by 
the Hards. 

The Kansas disclosures had the effect of drawing into 
closer communion the various shades of anti-slavery opinion 
in New York. Early in the summer, the question was ear- 
nestly considered of enlisting all men opposed to the aggres- 
sions of slavery under the banner of the Republican party, 
a political organisation formed, as has been stated, at Jack- 
son, Michigan, on July 6, 1854. Horace Greeley had sug- 
gested the name "Republican" as an unobjectionable one for 
the new party; and, within a week after its adoption at 
Jackson, it became the name of the Free-soilers who mar- 
shalled in Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Vermont, and Massa- 
chusetts. The anti-Nebraska convention of New York, which 
reassembled in Auburn on the 27th of September, 18.54, also 
adopted the name, calling its executive committee "the Re- 
publican state committee." It was not a new name in the 
Empire State. Voters in middle life had all been Republicans 
in their early years ; and long after the formation of the Na- 
tional Republicans in 1828, and of the Whig party in 1834, 
the designation had been used with approval by the Re- 
gency. In 1846, Silas Wright spoke of belonging to "the Re- 
publican party;" and, in 1848, Horace Greeley suggested 
"Taylor Republicans" as a substitute for Whigs. But for 
twenty years the name had practically fallen into disuse, and 
old questions associated with it had died out of popular 

After full conferences between the Whig and Republican 
state committees, calls were issued for two state conven- 
tions to meet at Syracuse on September 26. This meant an 
opportunity for the formal union of all anti-slavery voters. 
Of the two hundred and fifty-six delegates allotted to the 
Republican convention, over two hundred assembled, with 
Reuben E. Fenton as their presiding officer. Fenton, then 


thirty-six years old, was serving his first term in Congress. 
He was a man of marked intellectual vigour, unquestioned 
courage, and quiet courtesy, whose ability to control men 
was to give him, within a few j'ears, something of the influ- 
ence possessed by Thurlow Weed as a managing politician, 
with this difterence, perhaps, that Fen ton trusted more to 
the prevalence of ideas for which he stood. He kept step 
with progress. His reason for being a Barnburner, unlike 
that of John A. Dix,^'' grew out of an intense hatred of sla- 
very, and after the historic break in 1847, he never again, 
with full-heartedness, co-operated with the Democratic party. 
Fenton studied law, and, for a time, practised at the bar, but 
if the dream and highest ambition of his youth were success 
in the profession, his natural love for trade and politics 
quickly gained the ascendant. It is doubtful if he would 
have become a leading lawyer even in his own vicinage, for he 
showed little real capacity for public speaking. Indeed, he 
was rather a dull talker. The Gloie, during his ten years in 
Congress, rarely reveals him as doing more than making or 
briefly sustaining a motion, and, although these frequently 
■occurred at the most exciting moments of partisan discus- 
sion, showing that he was carefully watching, if not fear- 
lessly directing affairs, it is evident that for the hard blows 
in debate he relied as much as Weed did upon the readiness 
of other speakers. 

The Whigs, who had represented only a meagre minority 
of the voters of the State since the Know-Nothing defection, 
now responded to the call with a full quota of delegates, and 
elected John A. King president. King was nearly double the 
age of Fenton. He had been a lieutenant of cavalry in the 
War of 1812 and an opponent of DeWitt Clinton in the early 

" "He never became unduly excited about slavery. He had no 
sympathy for the religious or sentimental side of abolitionism, nor 
was he moved by the words of the philanthropists, preachers, or 
poets by whom the agitation was set ablaze and persistently 
fanned. He probably regarded it as an evil of less magnitude than 
several others that threatened the country." — Morgan IHx, Memoirs 
of John A. Dix, Vol. 1, p. 338. 


twenties. The two men presented a broad contrast, yet King 
represented the traditions of the past along the same lines 
that Fenton represented the hopes of the future. One looked 
his full age, the other appeared younger than he was, but 
both were serious. Whatever their aspirations, they existed 
without rivalry or ill-feeling, the desire for the success of 
their principles alone animating leaders and followers. 

Each convention organised separately, and, after adopting 
platforms and dividing their tickets equally between men of 
Whig and Democratic antecedents, conference committees of 
sixteen were apjjointed, which reported that the two bodies 
should appoint committees of sixteen on resolutions and of 
thirty-two on nominations. These committees having quickly 
agreed to what had already been done, the Whigs marched in 
a body to the hall of the Republican convention, the dele- 
gates rising and greeting them with cheers and shouts of 
welcome as they took the seats reserved for them in the cen- 
tre of the room. 

The occasion was one of profound rejoicing. The great 
coalition which was to stand so strong and to work such 
wonders during the next half-century doubtless had a period 
of feebleness in the first months of its existence; but never 
in its history has it had stronger or more influential men 
in its ranks, or abler and more determined leaders to direct 
its course. Horace Greeley reported its platform, demanding 
that Congress expressly prohibit slavery in the territories, 
and condemning the doctrines and methods of the Know- 
Nothings ; John A. King, Edwin D. Morgan, and Reuben E. 
Fenton, destined to lead it to victory as its candidate for 
governor, sat upon the stage ; Henry J. Raymond occupied a 
delegate's seat ; and, back of the scenes, stood the great man- 
ager, Thurlow Weed, who had conferred with the Free-soil 
leaders, and anticipated and arranged every detail. Present 
in spirit, though absent in body, was William H. Seward, 
who, within a few weeks, put himself squarely at the head 
of the new organisation in a speech that was read by more 
than half a million voters. 


After the enthusiasm had subsided the two chairmen, 
John A. King and Keuben E. Fenton, standing side by side, 
called the joint convention to order. This was the signal for 
more cheering. One delegate declared that not being quite 
sure which convention he ought to attend, he had applied to 
Seward, who wrote him it didn't make any diflference. "You 
will go in by two doors, but you will all come out through 
one." Then everything went by acclamation. Speaker Little- 
john of the Assembly moved that the two conventions ratify 
the platforms passed by each convention; Elbridge G. 
Spaulding moved that the presidents of the two conventions 
appoint a state central committee ; and John A. King moved 
that the names of the candidates, at the head of whom was 
Preston King for secretary of state, be given to the people 
of the State as the "Republican Ticket." Only when an effort 
was made to procure the indorsement of liquor prohibition 
did the convention show its teeth. The invitation, it was 
argued, included all men who were disposed to unite in re- 
sisting the aggressions and the diffusion of slavery, and a 
majority, by a ringing vote, declared it bad faith to insist 
upon a matter for which the convention was not called and 
upon which it was not unanimous. 

The Know-Nothing state convention met at Auburn on 
September 26. It was no longer a secret society. The terrors 
surrounding its mysterious machinery had vanished with the 
exposure of its secrets and the exploiting of its methods. It 
was now holding open political conventions and adopting 
political platforms under the title of the American party; 
and, as in other political organisations, the slavery question 
provoked hot controversies and led to serious breaks in its 
ranks. At its national council, held at Philadelphia in the 
preceding June, the New York delegation, controlled by the 
Silver-Gray faction which forced Daniel Ullman's nomina- 
tion for governor in 1854, had joined the Southern delegates 
in carrying a pro-slavery resolution abandoning further ef- 
forts to restore the Missouri Compromise. In this action the 
anti-slavery members of other Northern States, led with 

1853] JOEL T. HEADLEY 215 

great ability and courage by Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, 
refused to acquiesce, preferring to abandon the Order rather 
than sacrifice their principles. The contest in New York was 
renewed at the state council, held at Binghamton on August 
28 ; and, after a bitter session, a majority resolved that sla- 
very should derive no extension from the repeal of the Mis- 
souri Compromise. The convention at Auburn now took sim- 
ilar ground. It was not a great victory for the anti-slavery 
wing of the party ; but it disproved the assurances of their 
delegates that the Americans of New York would uphold the 
pro-slavery action at Philadelphia, while the fervent heat of 
the conflict melted the zeal of thousands of anti-Nebraska 
Know-Nothings, who soon found their way into the Repub- 
lican party. 

But the main body of the Americans, crushed as were its 
hopes of national unity, was still powerful. It put a ticket 
into the field, headed by Joel T. Headley for secretary of 
state, and greatly strengthened by George F. Comstock of 
Syracuse for judge of the Court of Appeals. Headley was 
a popular and prolific writer. He had been educated for the 
ministry at Union College and Auburn Theological Semi- 
nary, but his pen paid better than the pulpit, and he soon set- 
tled down into a writer of melodramatic biography, of which 
Napoleon and Eis Marshals attained, perhaps, the greatest 
popularity. Possibly little interest now clings to his books, 
which ordinarily rest on the high shelf with Abbott's His- 
tory of Napoleon; but, in their day, it was far pleasanter 
to read the entertaining and dramatic pages of Headley, with 
their impassioned, stirring pictures of war and heroism, than 
the tame, tedious biographies that then filled the libraries. 
Headley's History of the War of 1812 immediately preceded 
his entrance to the Assembly in 1854, where his cleverness 
attracted the attention of his party and led to his selection 
for secretary of state. George F. Comstock, now in his forty- 
first year, had already won an enviable reputation at the On- 
ondaga bar. Like Headley he was a graduate of Union Col- 
lege. In 1847, Governor Young had appointed him the first 


reporter for the Court of Appeals, and five years later Presi- 
dent Fillmore made him solicitor of the Treasury Depart- 
ment. He belonged to the Hards, but he sympathised with 
the tenets of the young American party. 

There were other parties in the field. The Free Democracy 
met in convention on August 7, and the Liberty party, assem- 
bling at Utica on September 12, nominated Frederick Doug- 
lass of Monroe, then a young coloured man of thirty-eight, for 
secretary of state, and Lewis Tappan of New York for comp- 
troller. Douglass' life had been full of romance. Neither 
his white father nor coloured mother appears to have had any 
idea of the prodigy they brought into the world; but it is 
certain his Maryland master discovered in the little slave boy 
the great talents that a hard life in Baltimore could not sup- 
press. Douglass secretly began teaching himself to read and 
write before he was ten years of age, and three years after 
his escape from slavery at the age of twenty-one, he com- 
pletely captured an audience at an anti-slavery convention 
in Nantucket by his brilliant speaking. This gave him em- 
ployment as an agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery So- 
ciety, and four years later brought him crowded audiences 
in England, Scotland, and Ireland. 

Frederick Douglass was a favourite everywhere. He had 
wit and humour, and spoke with the refinement of a culti- 
vated scholar. He did not become a narrow and monotonous 
agitator. The variety of his intellectual sympathies, con- 
trolled by the constancy of a high moral impulse, wholly 
exempted him from the rashness of a conceited zealot ; and, 
though often brilliant and at times rhetorical, his style was 
quiet and persuasive, reaching the reason as easily as the 
emotions. Coming as he did, out of slavery, at a time when 
the anti-slavery sentiment was beginning to be aggressive 
and popular in New England and other free States, Douglass 
seemed to be the Moses of his race as much as Booker 
T. Washington in these later years. Englishmen raised one 
hundred and fifty pounds and bought his freedom in 1846. 
The next year, as a Garrisonian disunionist, he began the 


publication of a weekly journal in Rochester; but he soon re- 
nounced disunionism, maintaining that slavery was illegal 
and unconstitutional. In the year the Liberty party nomi- 
nated him for secretary of state, his publishers sold eighteen 
thousand copies of his autobiography, entitled My Bondage 
and My Freedom. 

Before the campaign was far advanced it became evident 
that the Republican party was not drawing all the anti-sla- 
very elements to which it was thought to be entitled ; and, on 
the 12th of October, Seward made a speech in Albany, an- 
swering the question, "Shall we form a new party?" The 
hall was little more than two-thirds filled, and an absence 
of joyous enthusiasm characterised the meeting. Earnest 
men sat with serious faces, thinking of party ties severed 
and the work of a lifetime apparently snuflfed out, with deep 
forebodings for the future of the new organisation. This was^ 
a time to appeal to reason — not to the emotions, and Seward 
met it squarely with a storehouse of arguments. He 
sketched the history of slavery's growth as a political power ; 
he explained that slave-holders were a privileged class, get- 
ting the better of the North in appropriations and by the\ 
tariff. "Protection is denied to your wool," he said, "while I 
it is freely given to their sugar." Then he pointed out how 
slavery had grasped the territories as each one presented 
itself for admission into the Union — Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Mississippi, and Alabama, almost at the very outset of the 
national career; then Florida, when acquired from Spain; 
then as much of the Louisiana Purchase as possible ; then 
Texas and the territory acquired from Mexico — all the while 
deluding the North with the specious pretence that each suc- 
cessive seizure of free soil was a "compromise" and a final 
settlement of the slavery question. This opened the way to 
the matter in hand — how to meet slavery's aggressiveness. 
"Shall we take the American party?" he asked. "It stifles its 
voice, and suppresses your own free speech, lest it may be 
overheard beyond the Potomac. In the slave-holding States 
it justifies all wrongs committed against you. Shall we unite 


ourselves to the Democratic party? If so, to which faction? 
The Hards who are so stern in defending the aggressions, 
and in rebuking the Administration through whose agency 
they are committed? or the Softs who protest against the 
aggressions, while they sustain and invigorate the Adminis- 
tration? What is it but the same party which has led in 
the commission of all those aggressions, and claims exclu- 
sively the political benefits? Shall we report ourselves to 
the Whig party? Where is it? It was a strong and vigorous 
party, honourable for energy, noble achievement, and still 
more noble enterprises. It was moved by panics and fears to 
emulate the Democratic party in its practised subserviency ; 
and it yielded in spite of your remonstrances, and of mine, 
and now there is neither Whig party nor Whig south of the 
Potomac. Let, then, the Whig party pass. It committed a 
grievous fault, and grievously hath it answered it. Let it 
march off the field, therefore, with all the honours. . . . 
The Republican organisation has faid a new, sound, and lib- 
eral platform. Its principles are equal and exact justice ; its 
speech open, decided, and frank. Its banner is untorn in 
former battles, and unsullied by past errors. That is the 
party for us."" 

When the meeting ended the people went out satisfied. 
The smallness of the audience had been forgotten in the clear, 
homely arguments, and in the glow kindled in every heart; 
nor did they know that the speech spoken in their hearing 
would be read and pondered by half a million voters within 
a month. Richard H. Dana pronounced it "the keynote of 
the new party."'^ But though sown in fruitful soil, insuffi- 
cient time was to elapse before election for such arguments to 
root and blossom; and when the votes were counted in No- 
vember, the Know-Nothings had polled 146,001, the Republi- 
cans 135,962, the Softs 90,518, and the Hards 58,394. Samuel 
L. Selden, the candidate of the Hards and Softs for judge of 

"F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seicard, Vol. 2, p. 256. For full 
speech, see Seward's Works, Vol. 4, p. 225. 

" Diary of B. H. Dana, C. F. Adams, Life of Dana, Vol. 1, p. 348. 


the Court of Appeals, had 149,702. George F. Comstock was 
also declared elected, having received 141,094, or nearly 5000 
less than Headley for secretary of state. In the Assembly 
the Eepublicans numbered 44, the Know-Nothings 39, and 
the Hards and Softs 45. 

"The events of the election," wrote Seward, "show that the 
Silver-Grays have been successful in a new and attractive 
form, so as to divide a majority of the people in the cities 
and towns from the great question of the day. That is all. 
The rural districts still remain substantially sound. A year 
is necessary to let the cheat wear off."^^ To a friend who was 
greatly alarmed at the success of the Know-Nothings, he 
Avrote : "There is just so much gas in any ascending balloon. 
Before the balloon is down, the gas must escape. But the 
balloon is always sure not only to come down, but to come 
down very quick. The heart of the country is fixed on higher 
and nobler things. Do not distrust it."^* 

After the election, some people held the opinion that the 
prospect of a united anti-slavery party was not so favourable 
as it had been at the close of 1854; and men were inclined 
then, as some historians are now, to criticise Seward for not 
forcing the formation of the Eepublican party in New York 
in 1854 and putting himself at its head by making speeches 
in New England and the West as well as in New York. "Had 
Seward sunk the politician in the statesman," says Ehodes ; 
"had he vigorously asserted that every cause must be subor- 
dinate to Union under the banner of opposition to the ex- 
tension of slavery — the close of the year would have seen a 
triumphant Eepublican party in every Northern State but 
California, and Seward its acknowledged leader. It was the 
tide in Seward's affairs, but he did not take it at the flood."^' 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 258. 

" lUd., p. 259. 

" James F. Khodes, Eistory of the United States, Vol. 2, p. 69. See 
also p. 68. "Seward," says the historian, "had the position, the 
ability and the character necessary for the leadership of a new 
party. He was the idol of the anti-slavery Whigs. . . . Perhaps 
iis sympathies were heartily enlisted in the movement for a new 


Looking back into the fifties from the viewpoint of the 
present, this suggestion of the distinguished historian seems 
plausible. Undoubtedly Thurlow Weed's judgment con- 
trolled in 1854, and back of it was thirty years of successful 
leadership, based upon the sagacity of a statesman as well 
as the skill of a clever politician. It was inevitable that 
Weed should be a Republican. He had opposed slavery be- 
fore he was of age. The annexation of Texas met his strenu- 
ous resistance, the Wilmot Proviso had his active approval, 
and he assailed the fugitive slave law and the Nebraska Act 
with unsparing bitterness. With a singleness of purpose, not 
excelled by Seward or Sumner, his heart quickly responded 
to every movement which should limit, and, if possible, abol- 
ish slavery ; but, in his wisdom, with Know-Nothings recruit- 
ing members from the anti-slavery ranks, and the Whig party 
confident of success because of a divided Democracy, he did 
not see his way safely to organise the Republican party in 
New York in 1854. It is possible his desire to re-elect Sew- 
ard to the United States Senate may have increased his cau- 
tion. Seward's re-election was just then a very important 
factor in the successful coalition of the anti-slavery elements 
of the Empire State. Besides, Weed knew very well that 
defeat would put the work of coalition into unfriendly hands, 
and it might be disastrous if a hostile majority were allowed 
to deal with it according to their own designs and their own 

party and he was held back by Thurlow Weed. Perhaps he would 
have felt less trammelled had not his senatorship been at stake in 
the fall election. The fact is, however, that the Eepublican move- 
ment in the West and New England received no word of encourage- 
ment from him. He did not make a speech, even in the State of 
New York, during the campaign. His care and attention were en- 
grossed in seeing that members of the Legislature were elected 
who would vote for him for senator." On July 27, 1854, the New 
York Independent asked: "Shall we have a new party? The leaders 
for such a party do not appear. Seward adheres to the Whig 
party." In the New York Tribune of November 9, Greeley asserted 
that "the man who should have impelled and guided the general 
uprising of the free States is W. H. Seward." 

1855] CEITICISM or WEED 221 

class interests. Nevertheless, his delay in organising and 
Seward's failure to lead the new party in 1854, left an indeli- 
ble impression to their injury in the West, if not in New 
York and New England, "for unto whomsoever much is 
given, of him shall much be required; and to whom men have 
committed much, of him they will ask the more." 




Kansas troubles did not subside after the election. The 
Pierce administration found itself harassed by the most for- 
midable opposition it had yet encountered. Reader was 
out of the way for the moment; but the Northern settlers, 
by planning a flank movement which included the organisa- 
tion of a state government and an appeal to Congress for ad- 
mission to the Union, proved themselves an enemy much 
more pertinacious and ingenious than the removed Governor. 
To aid them in their endeavour, friends sent a supply of 
Sharpe's rifles, marked "books." Accordingly, on the 9th of 
October, 1855, delegates were elected to a convention which 
met at Topeka on the 23d of the same month and framed a 
Constitution prohibiting slavery and providing for its sub- 
mission to the people. 

This practically established a second government. Gov- 
ernor Shannon, the successor of Reeder, recognised the action 
of the fraudulently chosen territorial Legislature, while the 
free-state settlers, with headquarters at Lawrence, repudi- 
ated its laws and resisted their enforcement. Things could 
not long remain in this unhappy condition, and when, at 
last, a free-state man was killed it amounted to a declaration 
of hostilities. Immediately, the people of Lawrence threw up 
earthworks; the Governor called out the militia; and the 
Missourians again crossed the border. By the 1st of Decem- 
ber a couple of regiments were encamped in the vicinity of 
Lawrence, behind whose fortifications calmly rested six hun- 
dred men, half of them armed with Sharpe's rifles. A howit- 
zer added to their confidence. Finally, the border rufSans, 



who had heard of the breech-loading rifles and learned of the 
character of the men behind them, after dallying for several 
weeks, recrossed the river and permitted the settlers to ratify 
the new Constitution. In January, 1856, a governor and leg- 
islature were chosen, and, in February, the Legislature, meet- 
ing at Topeka, memorialised Congress, asking that Kansas be 
admitted int'o the Union. Thereupon, Senator Douglas re- 
ported a bill providing that whenever the people of Kansas 
numbered 93,420 inhabitants they might organise a State. 
Instantly, Senator Seward offered a substitute, providing 
for its immediate admission with the Topeka Constitution. 

The events leading up to this parliamentary situation had 
been noisy and murderous, rekindling a spirit of indignation 
in the South as well as in the North, which brought out fiery 
appeals from the press. The Georgia Legislature proposed 
to appropriate sixty thousand dollars to aid emigration to 
Kansas. A chivalrous colonel of Alabama who issued an 
appeal for three hundred men willing to fight for the cause 
of the South, began his march from Montgomery with two 
hundred, having first received a blessing from a Methodist 
minister and a Bible from a divine of the Baptist church. 
One young lady of South Carolina set the example of selling 
her jewelry to equip men with rifles. The same spirit mani- 
fested itself in the North. Public meetings encouraged armed 
emigration. "The duty of the people of the free States," said 
the Tribune, "is to send more true men, more Sharpe's rifles, 
and more howitzers to Kansas."^ William Cullen Bryant 
wrote his brother that "by the 1st of May there will be sev- 
eral thousand more free-state settlers in Kansas. Of course 
they will go well armed."'' Henry Ward Beecher, happening 
to be present at a meeting in which an orthodox deacon who 
had enlisted seventy-nine emigrants asked for more rifles, 
declared that a Sharpe's rifle was a greater moral agency 
than the Bible, and that if half the guns needed were pledged 
on the spot Plymouth Church would furnish the rest.' Thus, 

' New York Weekly Tribune, February 2, 1856. 

' Parke Godwin. Life of Bryant, Vol. 2, p. 88. 

• New York Independent, March 26, 1856. 


the equipment of Northern emigrants to Kansas became 
known as "Beechers Bibles."* Henry J. Raymond said that 
"the question of slavery domination must be fought out on 
the plains of Kansas.'" To add to Northern bitterness, Presi- 
dent Pierce, in a special message to the United State Senate, 
condemned the emigrant aid societies, threatening to call 
out the army, and approving the acts of the pro-slavery Leg- 

In the midst of this excitement. Senator Douglas began 
the debate on his Kansas bill which was destined to become 
more historic than the outrages of the border ruflSans them- 
selves. Douglas upheld the acts of the territorial Legislature 
as the work of law and order, denouncing the Northern emi- 
grants as daring and defiant revolutionists, and charging 
that "the whole responsibility for all the disturbance rested 
upon the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company and its af- 
filiated societies."* Horace Greeley admitted the force and 
power of Douglas' argument, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, the 
gifted author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, was so profoundly im- 
pressed with the matchless orator that she thought it "a 
merciful providence that with all his alertness and adroit- 
ness, all his quick-sighted keenness, Douglas is not witty — 
that might have made him too irresistible a demagogue for 
the liberties of our laughter-loving people, to whose weakness 
he is altogether too well adapted now."' The friends of a 
free Kansas appreciated the superiority in debate of the Illi- 
nois statesman, whose arguments now called out half a dozen 
replies from as many Republican senators. It afforded a fine 
opportunity to define and shape the principles of the new 
party, and each senator attracted wide attention. But the 
speech of Seward, who took the floor on the 9th of April in 
favour of the immediate admission of Kansas as a State, 
seems to have impressed the country as far the ablest. He 

* New York Independent, February 7, 1856. 
'New York Times, February 1, 1856. 

• Report of Committee on Territories, U. S. Senate, March 12, 1856. 
'New York Independent, May 1, 1856, Letters from Washington. 

1856] SEWAED'S SPEECH 225 

sketched the history of the Kansas territory; reviewed the 
sacrifices of its people ; analysed and refuted each argument 
in support of the President's policy; and defended the set- 
tlers in maintaining their struggle for freedom. "Greeley 
expressed the opinion of the country and the judgment of 
the historian," says Rhodes, "when he wrote to his journal 
that Seward's speech was 'the great argument' and stood 
'unsurpassed in its political philosophy.' "* The Times pro- 
nounced it "the ablest of all his speeches."" On the day of 
its publication the Weekly Tribune sent out 162,000 copies. 
Seward wrote Weed that "the demand for it exceeds what I 
have ever known. I am giving copies away by the thousand 
for distribution in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other States."" 
A month later, on the 19 th and 20th of May, came the 
speech of Charles Sumner, entitled "The Crime Against 
Kansas." Whittier called it "a grand and terrible philippic." 
Sumner had read it to Senator and Mrs. Seward, who ad- 
vised the omission of certain personal allusions to Senator 
Butler ;^^ but he delivered it as he wrote it, and two days 
later the country was startled by Preston S. Brooks' assault. 
The jSTorth received this outrage with horror as the work of 
the slave power. In public meetings, the people condemned 
it as a violation of the freedom of speech and a blow at the 
personal safety of public men having the courage to express 
their convictions. "The blows that fell on the head of the 
Senator from Massachusetts," said Seward, "have done more 
for the cause of human freedom in Kansas and in the territo- 
ries of the United States than all the eloquence which has re- 
sounded in these halls since the days of Eufus King and John 
Quincy Adams."^'' The events surrounding the assault — 
Brooks' resignation, his unanimous re-election, his challenge 
to Burlingame, and his refusal to fight in Canada — all tended 

'James F. Bhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 2, p. 130. 

• New York Times, April 9, 1856. 

"F. W. Seward, Life of W. B. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 270. 

" Statement of William H. Seward, Jr., to the Author. 

" This speech was made on June 34, 1856. 


to intensify Northern feeling. Close upon the heels of this 
excitement came news from Kansas of the burning of Law- 
rence, the destruction of Osawatomie, the sacking of free- 
state printing oflSces, and the murder of Northern immi- 
grants. To complete the list of crimes against free speech 
and freedom, the commander of a force of United States 
troops dispersed the Topeka Legislature at the point of the 

This was the condition of affairs when the two great po- 
litical parties of the country assembled in national conven- 
tion in June, 1856, to select candidates for President and 
Vice President. At their state convention, in January, to 
select delegates-at-large to Cincinnati, the Softs had put 
themselves squarely in accord with the pro-slavery wing of 
their party. They commended the administration of Pierce, 
approved the Nebraska Act, and denounced as "treasonable" 
the Kansas policy of the Republican party. This was a wide 
departure from their position of August, 1855, which had 
practically reaflflrmed the principles of the Wilmot Proviso ; 
but the trend of public events compelled them either to re- 
nounce all anti-slavery leanings or abandon their party. 
Their surrender, however, did not turn their reception at 
Cincinnati into the welcome of prodigals. The committee on 
credentials kept them waiting at the door for two days, and 
when they were finally admitted they were compelled to enter 
on an equality with the Hards. Horatio Seymour pleaded for 
representation in proportion to the votes cast, which would 
have given the Softs three-fifths of the delegation, but the 
convention thought them entitled to no advantages because 
of their "abolition principles," and even refused a request 
for additional seats from which their colleagues might wit- 
ness the proceedings. To complete their humiliation the con- 
vention required them formally to deny the righl^ of Congress 
or of the people of a territory to prohibit slavery ioNany ter- 
ritory of the United States. It was a bitter dose. The De- 
mocracy of the Empire State had been accustomed to control 
conventions — not to serve them. For twenty years they had 


come with candidates for the Presidency, and if none of their 
statesmen had been nominated since 1836 they were recog- 
nised as resolute men, bold in diplomacy, ready for any emer- 
gency, and as formidable to their enemies as they were dear 
to their friends. For nearly three decades a New Yorker 
had been in the Cabinet of every administration. But the 
glory of former days had now departed. For twelve years 
the party had been divided and weakened, until, at last, it 
had neither presidential candidate to offer nor cabinet posi- 
tion to expect. "^ 

The leading candidates at Cincinnati were Franklin 
Pierce, Stephen A. Douglas, and James Buchanan. Northern 
delegates had been inclined to support Pierce or Douglas ; but 
since the assault upon Sumner and the destruction of Law- 
rence, the conciliation of the North by the nomination of a 
candidate who had not participated in the events of the past 
three years seemed the wisest and safest policy. Buchanan 
had been minister to England since the birth of the Pierce 
administration; and the fact that he hailed from Pennsyl- 
vania, a very important State in the election, strengthened 
his availability. The Softs recognised the wisdom of this 
philosophy, but, under the leadership of Marcy, who had 
given them the federal patronage for three years, they voted 
for the President, with the hope that his supporters might 
ultimately unite with those of Douglas. The Hards, on the 
contrary, supported Buchanan. They had little use for 
Pierce, who had persecuted them. 

On the first ballot Buchanan had 135 votes. Pierce 122, 
Douglas 33, and Cass 5, with 197 necessary to a choice. This 
made Buchanan's success probable if his forces stood firm; 
and as other ballots brought him additional votes at the ex- 
pense of Pierce, his nomination seemed certain. The Softs, 
however, continued with Pierce until his withdrawal on the 
fourteenth ballot ; then, putting aside an opportunity to sup- 
port the winning candidate, they turned to Douglas. But to 
their great surprise, Douglas withdrew at the end of the next 
ballot, leaving the field to Buchanan. This placed the Softs, 


who now joined the Hards because there was no longer any 
way of keeping apart, in an awkward position. Seymour, 
however, gracefully accepted the situation, declaring that, 
although the Softs came into the convention under many 
disadvantages, they desired to do all in their power to har- 
monise the vote of the convention and to promote the dis- 
continuance of factional differences in the great State of 
New York. Greene C. Bronson, who smiled derisively as he 
heard this deathbed repentance, did not know how soon 
Horatio Seymour was destined again to command the party. 
The Republican national convention convened at Philadel- 
phia on the 17th of June. Recent events had encouraged Re- 
publicans with the hope of ultimate victory. Nathaniel P. 
Banks' election as speaker of the national House of Repre- 
sentatives on the one hundred and thirty-seventh ballot, after 
a fierce contest of two months, was a great triumph ; interest 
in the Pittsburg convention on the 22d of February had sur- 
passed expectations ; and the troubles of "bleeding Kansas," 
which seemed to culminate in the assault upon Sumner and 
the destruction of Lawrence, had kept the free States in a 
condition of profound excitement. Such brutal outrages, it 
was thought, would certainly discredit any party that ap- 
proved the policy leading to them. Sustained by this hope 
the convention, in its platform, arraigned the Administration 
for the conduct of afCairs; demanded the immediate admis- 
sion of Kansas into the Union under the Topeka Constitu- 
tion : and resolved, amidst the greatest enthusiasm, that "it 
is both the right and duty of Congress to prohibit in the ter- 
ritories those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and 

The selection of a presidential candidate gave the dele- 
gates more trouble. They wanted an available man who 
could carry Pennsylvania; and between the sjipporters of 
John C. Fremont and the forces of John McLean, for twenty- 
six years a member of the United States Supreme Court, the 
canvass became earnest and exciting. Finally, on an infor- 
mal ballot, Fremont secured 359 of the 555 votes in the con- 


vention. William L. Dayton of New Jersey was then nomi- 
nated for Vice President over Abraham Lincoln, who re- 
ceived 110 votes. 

William H. Seward was the logical candidate for Presi- 
dent. He represented Republican principles and aims more 
fully than any man in the country, but Thurlow Weed, look- 
ing into the 'future through the eyes of a practical politician, 
disbelieved in Republican success. He argued that, although 
Republicans were sure of 114 electoral votes, it was essential 
to carry Pennsylvania to secure the additional 35, and that 
Pennsylvania could not be carried. This belief was strength- 
ened after the nomination of Buchanan, who pledged himself 
to give fair play to Kansas, which many understood to mean 
a free State. Under these conditions Weed advised Seward 
not to become a candidate, on the theory that defeat in 1856 
would sacrifice his chances in 1860. 

Seward, as usual, acquiesced in Weed's judgment. "I once 
heard Seward declare," wrote Gideon Welles, "that 'Seward 
is Weed and Weed is Seward. What I do. Weed approves. 
What he says, I indorse. We are one.' "" On this occasion, 
however, it is certain Seward accepted Weed's judgment with 
much reluctance. His heart was set upon the nomination, 
and his letters reveal disappointment and even disgust at the 
arrangement. "It is a delicate thing," he wrote, on the 27th 
of April, "to go through the present ordeal, but I am endeav- 
ouring to do so without giving any one just cause to com- 
plain of indifference on my part to the success of the cause. 
I have shut out the subject itself from conversation and cor- 
respondence, and, so far as possible, from my thoughts."" 
But he could not close his ears. "From all I hear 'avail- 
ability' is to be indulged next week and my own friends are 

" Gideon Welles, Lincoln and Seward, p. 23. "I am sorry to hear 
the remark," said the late Chief Justice Chase, "for while I would 
strain a point to oblige Mr. Seward, I feel under no obligations to 
do anything for the special benefit of Mr. Weed. The two are not 
and never can be one to me.'' — Ibid., p. 23. 

"F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 270. 


to make the sacrifice," he wrote his wife, on June 11, six days 
before the convention opened. "Be it so ; I shall submit with 
better grace than others would."^° Two days later he said : 
"It tries my patience to hear what is said and to act as if I 
assented, under expectation of personal benefits, present and 

What especially gravelled Seward was the action of his 
opponents. "The understanding all around me is," he wrote 
his wife, on June 14, "that Greeley has struck hands with 
enemies of mine and sacrificed me for the good of the cause, 
to be obtained by the nomination of a more available candi- 
date, and that Weed has concurred in demanding my acqui- 
escence."^^ Seward suspected the truth of this "understand- 
ing" as to Greeley, but it is doubtful if he then believed 
Weed had betrayed him. Perhaps this thought came later 
after he heard of Fremont's astonishing vote and learned 
that the newspapers were again nominating the Path-finder 
for a standard-bearer in 1860. "Seward more than hinted 
to confidential friends," wrote Henry B. Stanton, "that Weed 
betrayed him for Fremont." Then Stanton tells the story 
of Weed and Seward riding up Broadway, and how, when 
passing the bronze statue of Lincoln in Union Square, Sew- 
ard said, "Weed, if you had been faithful to me, I should 
have been there instead of Lincoln." "Seward," replied 
Weed, "is it not better to be alive in a carriage with me than 
to be dead and set up in bronze ?"^* 

How much Weed's advice to Seward was influenced by the 
arguments of opponents nowhere appears, but the disappoint- 
ment of Democrats and conservative Americans upon the an- 
nouncement of Seward's withdrawal proves that these objec- 
tions were serious. His views were regarded as too extreme 
for a popular candidate. It was deemed advisable not to put 
in issue either the abolition of slavery in the District of Co- 
lumbia, or the repeal of the fugitive slave law, and Seward's 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, "Vol. 2, p. 877. 
" IMd., p. 277. " Ihid., p. 277. 

" H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 194. 


pronounced attitude on these questions, it was asserted, 
would involve them in the campaign regardless of the silence 
of the platform. It was argued, also, that although the 
Whigs were numerically the largest portion of the Eepubli- 
can party, a candidate of Democratic antecedents would be 
preferable,especially in Pennsylvania, a State, they declared, 
which Seward could not carry. To all this Greeley undoubt- 
edly assented. The dissolution of the firm of Seward, Weed, 
and Greeley, announced in Greeley's remarkable letter of 
November 11, 1854, but not yet made public, had, indeed, 
taken effect. The result was not so patent, certainly not so 
vitriolic, as it appeared at Chicago in 1860, but Greeley now 
began insinuating doubts of Seward's popular strength, ex- 
aggerating local prejudices against him, and yielding to ob- 
jections raised by his avowed opponents. His hostility found 
no place in the columns of the Tribune, but it coloured his 
conversations and private correspondence. To Richard A. 
Dana he wrote that Callamer's speech on the Kansas ques- 
tion "is better than Seward's, in my humble judgment;"^' 
yet the Tribune pronounced Seward's "the great argument" 
and "unsurpassed in political philosophy." The importance 
of Pennsylvania became as prominent a factor in the con- 
vention of 1856 as it did in that of 1860, and Greeley did not 
hesitate to aflSrm Seward's inability to carry it, declaring 
that such weakness made his nomination fatal to party 

The opponents of Seward, however, could not have pre- 
vented his nomination had he decided to enter the race. He 
was the unanimous choice of the New York delegation. The 
mere mention of his name at Philadelphia met with the 
loudest applause. When Senator Wilson of Massachusetts 
spoke of him as "the foremost American statesman," the 
cheers made further speaking impossible for several minutes. 
He was the idol of the convention as he was the chief figure 
of his party. John A. King declared that could his name 
have been presented "it would have received the universal ap- 

" Letters of April 7, 1856. 


probation of the convention." Robert Emmet, the son of the 
distinguished Thomas Addis Emmet, and the temporary 
chairman of the convention, made a similar statement. 
Even Thurlow Weed found it difficult to prevail upon 
his friends to bide their time until the next national con- 
vention. "Earnest friends refused to forego my nomination," 
Seward wrote his wife on June 17, the day the convention 
opened, "without my own authority."*" 

When the several state conventions convened at Syracuse 
each party sought its strongest man for governor. The 
Hards and the Softs were first in the field, meeting in sep- 
arate conventions on July 30. After inviting each other to 
join in a union meeting they reassembled as one body, pledged 
to support the Cincinnati ijlatform. It was not an occasion 
for cheers. Consolidation was the only alternative, with 
chances that the ultra pro-slavery platform meant larger 
losses if not certain defeat. In this crisis Horatio Seymour 
assumed the leadership that had been his in 1852, and that 
was not to be laid down for more than a decade. Seymour 
was now in his prime — still under fifty years of age. He had 
become a leader of energy and courage; and, although des- 
tined for many years to lead a divided and often a defeated 
organisation, he was ever after recognised as the most gifted 
and notable member of his party. He was a typical Northern 
Democrat. He had the virtues and foibles that belonged to 
that character in his generation, the last of whom have now 
passed from the stage of public action. 

The effort to secure a Democratic nominee for governor 
required four ballots. Addison Gardiner, David L. Seymour, 
Fernando Wood, and Amasa J. Parker were the leading can- 
didates. David Seymour had been a steady supporter of the 
Hards. He belonged to the O'Conor type of conservatives, 
rugged and stalwart, who seemed unmindful of the changing 
conditions in the political growth of the country. At Cin- 
cinnati, he opposed the admission of the Softs as an unjust 
and utterly irrational disqualification of the Hards, who, he 
" F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. B. Seward, Vol. 8, p. 278. 

1856] FEENANDO WOOD 233 

said, had always stood firmly by party platforms and party 
nominations regardless of personal convictions. Fernando 
Wood belonged to a different type." He had already devel- 
oped those regrettable qualities which gave him a most un- 
savoury reputation as mayor of New York; but of the dan- 
gerous qualities that lay beneath the winning surface of his 
gracious manner, men as yet knew nothing. Just now his 
gubernatorial ambition, fed by dishonourable methods, found 
support in a great host of noisy henchmen who demanded 
his nomination. Addison Gardiner was the choice of the 
Softs. Gardiner had been elected lieutenant-governor on the 
ticket with Silas Wright in 1844, and later became an orig- 
inal member of the Court of Appeals, from which he retired 
in 1855. He was a serious, simple-hearted, wise man, well 
fitted for governor. But Horatio Seymour made up his mind 
that Parker, although far below Gardiner and David L. Sey- 
mour in number of votes, would better unite the convention, 
and upon Gardiner's withdrawal Parker immediately re- 
ceived the nomination. 

Amasa J. Parker was then forty-nine years of age, an emi- 
nent, successful lawyer. Before his thirty-second birthday 
he had served Delaware County as surrogate, district attor- 
ney, assemblyman, and congressman. Later, he became a 
judge of the Supreme Court and removed to Albany, where 

'' Fernando Wood was a Quaker and a Philadelphian by birth. 
In early youth he became a cigannaker, then a tobacco dealer, and 
later a grocer. At Harrisburg, his first introduction to politics 
resulted in a fist-flg-ht with a, state senator who was still on the 
floor when Wood left the bar-room. Then he went to New York, 
and, in 1840, was elected to Congress at the age of twenty-eight. 
Wood had a fascinating personality. He was tall and shapely, his 
handsome features and keen blue eyes were made the more at- 
tractive by an abundance of light hair which fell carelessly over a 
high, broad forehead. But, as a politician, he was as false as his 
capacity would allow him to be, having no hesitation, either from 
principle or fear, to say or do anything that served his purpose. 
He has been called the successor of Aaron Burr and the predecessor 
of William M. Tweed. In 1858, he organised Mozart Hall, a Demo- 
cratic society opposed to Tammany. 

234 rmST EEPUBLICAN GOVEENOE [Chap, yv'ii. 

he resided for forty-six years, until his death in 1890. Parker 
was a New England Puritan, who had been unusually well 
raised. He passed from the study of his father, a Congre- 
gational clergyman, to the senior class at Union College, 
graduating at eighteen ; and from his uncle's law library to 
the surrogate's office. All his early years had been a train- 
ing for public life. He had associated with scholars 
and thinkers, and in the estimation of his contemporaries 
there were few stronger or clearer intellects in the State. 
But his later political career was a disappointment. His 
party began nominating him for governor after it had fallen 
into the unfortunate habit of being beaten, and, although 
he twice ran ahead of his ticket, the anti-slavery sentiment 
that dominated New York after 1854 kept him out of the 
executive chair. 

The Republican state convention assembled at Syracuse 
on the 17th of September. A feeling existed that the election 
this year would extract the people from the mire of Know- 
Nothingism, giving the State its first Republican governor; 
and confidence of success, mingled with an unusual desire to 
make no mistake, characterised the selection of a nominee 
for chief executive. Myron H. Clark, a man of the people, 
had made a good governor, but he was too heavily weighted 
with prohibition to suit the older public men, who did not 
lake kindly to him. They turned to Moses H. Grinnell, whose 
pre-eminence as a large-hearted, public-spirited merchant al- 
ways kept him in sight. Grinnell was now fifty-three years 
of age. His broad, handsome face showed an absence of 
bigotry and intolerance, while the motives that controlled 
his life were public and patriotic, not personal. Probably no 
man in New York City, since the time John Jay left it, 
had ever had more admirers. He was a favourite of Daniel 
"Webster, who appointed Washington Irving minister to 
Spain upon his request. This interest in the farfious author, 
as well as his recent promotion of Dr. Kane's expedition to 
the Arctic seas in search of Sir John Franklin, indicated 
the broad philanthropy that governed his well-ordered life. 


But he declined to accept oflSce. The distinguished house 
that had borne his name for twenty-seven years, decided that 
its senior member could not be spared, even temporarily, to 
become governor of the State, and so Grinnell's official life 
was limited to a single term in Congress, although his public 
life may be said to have spanned nearly two-thirds of his 
more than three score years and ten. 

Grinnell's decision seemed to leave an open field, and upon 
the first ballot John A. King received 91 votes, James S. 
Wadsworth 72, Simeon Draper 23, Myron H. Clark 22, and 
Ira Harris 22. Thurlow Weed and the wheel horses of Whig 
descent, however, preferring that the young party have a 
governor of their own antecedents, familiar with political 
difficulties and guided by firmness and wisdom, had secretly 
determined upon King. But Wadsworth, although he 
quickly felt the influence of their decision, declined to with- 
draw. Wadsworth was a born fighter. In the Free-soil seces- 
sion of 1847, he proclaimed uncompromising hostility to the 
extension of slavery, and he never changed his position until 
death ended his gallant and noble service in the Civil War. 

Wadsworth descended from a notable family. His father, 
James Wadsworth, a graduate of Yale, leaving his Connecti- 
cut home in young manhood, bought of the Dutch and of the 
Six Nations twenty thousand acres in the Genesee Valley, 
and became one of the earliest settlers and wealthiest men 
in Western New York. He was, also, the most public-spirited 
citizen. He believed in normal schools and in district school 
libraries, and he may properly be called one of the founders 
of the educational system of the State. But he never cared 
for political office. It was said of him that his refusal to 
accept public place was as inflexible as his determination to 
fight Oliver Kane, a well-known merchant of New York City, 
after trouble had occurred at the card table. The story, told 
at the time, was that the two, after separating in anger, met 
before sunrise the next morning, without seconds or sur- 
geons, under a tall pine tree on a bluff, and after politely 
measuring the distance and taking their places, continued 


shooting at each other until Kane, slightly wounded, de- 
clared he had enough.^ ^ 

James S. Wadsworth discovered none of his father's aver- 
sion to holding oflSce. He, also, graduated at Yale and 
studied law in the oflQce of Daniel Webster, but he preferred 
politics and agriculture to the troubles of clients, and, al- 
though never successful in getting ofiBce, all admitted his 
fitness for it. He was brave, far-sighted, and formed to please. 
He had a handsome face and stately presence. Many people 
who never saw him were strongly attracted to him by sym- 
pathy of political opinions and by gratitude for important 
services rendered the country. There was to come a time, in 
1862, when these radical friends, looking upon him as the 
Lord's Anointed, and indifferent to the wishes of Thurlow 
Weed and the more conservative leaders, forced his nomina- 
tion for governor by acclamation ; but, in 1856, John A. King 
had the weightiest influence, and, on the second ballot, he 
took the strength of Draper, Clark, and Harris, receiving 158 
votes to 73 for Wadsworth. It was not soon forgotten, how- 
ever, that in the memorable stampede for King, Wadsworth 
more than held his own. 

John Alsop King was the eldest son of Rufus King. While 
the father was minister to the court of St. James, the son at- 
tended the famous school at Harrow, had as classmates Lord 
Byron and Sir Robert Peel, and went the usual rounds of 
continental travel. For nearly four decades he had been 
conspicuous in public life as assemblyman, senator, congress- 
man, and in the diplomatic service. Starting as a Federal- 
ist and an early advocate of anti-slavery sentiments, he had 
been an Anti-Mason, a National Republican, and a Whig. 
Only when he acted with Martin "Van Buren against DeWitt 
Clinton did he flicker in his political consistency. Although 
now sixty-eight years old, he was still rugged — a man of 
vigorous sense and great public spirit. His congressional ex- 
perience came when the hosts of slavery and freedom were 
marshalling for the great contest for the territory between 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 1, p. 153. 

1856] JOHN ALSOP KING 237 

the Mississippi and the Pacific, and at the side of Preston 
King he resisted Clay's compromise measures, especially the 
fugitive slave law, and warmly supported the admission of 
California as a free State. "I have come to have a great 
liking for the Kings," wrote Seward, in 1850. "They have 
withstood the seduction of the seducers, and are like a rock 
in the defencfe of the right. They have been tried as through 
flre."^' John A. King was not ambitious for public place. He 
waited to be called to an oflSce,but he did not wait to be called 
to join a movement which would be helpful to the public. His 
ear was to the sky rather than to the ground. He believed 
Ealph Waldo Emerson's saying : "That is the one base thing 
in the universe, to receive benefits and render none." Like 
his distinguished father, he was tolerant in dealing with 
men who differed from him, but he never shrank from the 
expression of an opinion because it would bring sacrifice or 

The ticket was strengthened by the nomination of Henry 
R. Selden of Monroe for lieutenant-governor. Selden be- 
longed to a family that had been prominent for two centuries 
in the Connecticut Valley. Like his older brother, Samuel L. 
Selden, who lived at Rochester, he was an able lawyer and 
a man of great industry. These brothers brought to the 
service of the people a perfect integrity, coupled with a gra- 
cious urbanity that kept them in public life longer than 
either desired to remain. One was a Republican, the other 
a Democrat. Samuel became a partner of Addison Gardiner 
in 1825, and Henry, after studying law with them, opened an. 
office at Clarkson in the western part of the county. In 1851, 
Henry became reporter for the Court of Appeals, and then 
lieutenant-governor. Samuel's public service began earlier. 
He became judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1831, of 
the Supreme Court in 1847, and of the Court of Appeals in 
1856. When he resigned in 1862, Henry took his place by ap- 
pointment, and afterward by election. Finally, in 1865, he 
also resigned. The brothers were much alike in the quality 
" F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 140. 


they brought to the public service; and their work, as re- 
markable for its variety as for its dignity, made Samuel an 
original promoter of the electric telegraph system and Henry 
a defender of Susan B. Anthony when arrested on the charge 
of illegally voting at a presidential election. 

The Americans nominated Erastus Brooks for governor. 
He was a younger brother of James Brooks, who founded 
the New York Express in 1836. The Brookses were born in 
Maine, and early exhibited the industry and courage charac- 
teristic of the sons of the Pine Tree State. At eight years of 
age, Erastus began work in a grocery store, fitting himself 
for Brown University at a night school, and, at twenty, he 
became an editor on his brother's paper. His insistence upon 
the taxation of property of the Catholic Church, because, be- 
ing held in the name of the Bishops, it should be included 
under the laws governing personal holdings in realty, 
brought him prominently before the Americans, who sent 
him to the State Senate in 1854. But Brooks' political ca- 
reer, like that of his brother, really began after the Civil 
War, although his identification with the Know-Nothings 
marked him as a man of force, capable of making strong 
friends and acquiring much influence. 

The activity of the Americans indicated firm faith in their 
success. Six months before Brooks' nomination they had 
named Millard Fillmore for President. At the time, the 
former President was in Europe. On his return he accepted 
the compliment and later received the indorsement of the old- 
line Whigs. Age had not left its impress. Of imposing ap- 
pearance, he looked like a man formed to rule. The peculiar 
tenets of the Americans, except as exemplified in the career 
of their candidate for governor, did not enter into Fillmore's 
campaign. He rested his hopes upon the conservative ele- 
ments of all parties who condemned the repeal of the Mis- 
souri Compromise and opposed the formati'on of a party 
which, he declared, had, for the first time in the history of the 
Eepublic, selected candidates for President and Vice Presi- 
dent from the free States alone, with the avowed purpose of 

1856] SEWAED GKOUTY 239 

electing them by the suflErages of one part of the Union to 
rule over the other part. 

This was also the argument of Buchanan. In his letter of 
acceptance he sounded the keynote of his party, claiming 
that it was strictly national, devoted to the Constitution and 
the Union, and that the Republican party, ignoring the his- 
toric warning of Washington, was formed on geographic 
lines.^* All this made little impression upon the host of 
Northern men who exulted in the union of all the anti-sla- 
very elements. But their intense devotion to the positive ut- 
terances of their platform took away the sense of humour 
which often relieves the tension of political activity, and sub- 
stituted an element of profound seriousness that was plainly 
visible in speakers and audiences. Seward did not hasten 
into the campaign. Richard H. Dana wrote, confidentially, 
that "Seward was awful grouty." It was October 2 when he 
began speaking. Congress had detained him until August 
30, and then his health was so impaired, it was explained, 
that he needed rest. But other lovers of freedom were deeply 
stirred. The pulpit became a platform, and the great edi- 

" Horatio Seymour used the same argument with great effect. 
"Another tie which has heretofore held our country together has 
been disbanded, and from its ruins has sprung a political organisa- 
tion trusting for its success to sectional prejudices. It excludes from 
its councils the people of nearly one-half of the Union; it seeks a 
triumph over one-half our country. The battlefields of Yorktown, 
of Camden, of New Orleans, are unrepresented in their conventions; 
and no delegates speak for the States where rest the remains of 
Washington, JefEerson, Marion, Sumter, or Morgan, or of the later 
hero, Jackson. They cherish more bitter hatred of their own coun- 
trymen than they have ever shown towards the enemies of our 
land. If the language they hold this day had been used eighty 
years since, we should not have thrown off the British yoke; our 
national constitution would not have been formed; and if their 
spirit of hatred continues, our Constitution and Government will 
cease to exist." — Seymour at Springfield, Mass., July 4, 1856. Cook 
and Knox, Public Record of Horatio Seymour, p. 2. 

"John A. Dix supported the Democratic candidates in the canvass 
of 1856; he did not, however, take an active part in the contest." — • 
Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. Dix, Vol. 1, p. 319.- 


tors spoke as well as wrote. Henry Ward Beecher seemed 
ubiquitous; Greeley and Raymond made extended tours 
through the State; Bryant was encouraged to overcome his 
great timidity before an audience; and Washington Irving 
declared his intention of voting, if not of speaking, for 

This campaign also welcomed into political life a young 
man whose first speech made it plain that a new champion, 
with bright and well-tempered sword, had taken up the cause 
of freedom with the courage of the cavalier. George William 
Curtis was then thirty-two years old. He had already writ- 
ten the Howadji books, which earned him recognition among 
men of letters, and Prue and I, which had secured his fame 
as an author. In the campaign of 1856, the people for 
the first time saw and knew this man whose refined 
rhetoric, characterised by tender and stirring appeal, 
and guided by principle and conviction, was, there- 
after, for nearly forty years, to be heard at its 
best on one side of every important question that 
divided American political life. Nathaniel P. Willis, 
■who drove five miles in the evening to hear him deliver 
a "stump speech," thought Curtis would be "too handsome 
and too well dressed" for a political orator; but when he 
heard him unfold his logical argument step by step, occa- 
sionally bursting into a strain of inspiring eloquence that 
foreshadowed the more studied work of his riper years, it 
taught him that the author was as caustic and unconstrained 
on the platform as he appeared in The Potiphar Papers. 

Curtis' theme was resistance to the extension of slavery. 
His wife's father, Francis G. Shaw, had stimulated his zeal 
in the cause of freedom ; and he treated the subject with a 
finish and strength that came from larger experience and 
longer observation than a young man of thifty-two could 
usually boast. To him, the struggle for freedom in Kansas 
was not less glorious than the heroic resistance in 1776, and 
he made it vivid by the use of historic associations. 
"Through these very streets," he said, "they marched who 


never returned. They fell and were buried, but they can 
never die. Not sweeter are the flowers that make your valley 
fair, not greener are the pines that give your valley its 
name, than the memory of the brave men who died for free- 
dom. And yet no victim of those days, sleeping under the 
green sod, is more truly a martyr of Liberty than every mur- 
dered man "whose bones lie bleaching in this summer sun 
upon the silent plains of Kansas. And so long as Liberty 
has one martyr, so long as one drop of blood is poured out 
for her, so long from that single drop of bloody sweat of the 
agony of humanity shall spring hosts as countless as the 
forest leaves and mighty as the sea."^^ 

Curtis thought the question of endangering the Union a 
mere pretence. "Twenty millions of a moral people, politi- 
cally dedicated to Liberty, are asking themselves whether 
their government shall be administered solely in the interest 
of three hundred and fifty thousand slave-holders." He did 
not believe that these millions would dissolve the Union in 
the interest of these thousands. "I see a rising enthusiasm," 
he said, in closing; "but enthusiasm is not an election; and 
I hear cheers from the heart, but cheers are not voters. 
Every man must labour with his neighbour — in the street, 
at the plough, at the bench, early and late, at home and 
abroad. Generally we are concerned in elections with the 
measures of government. This time it is with the essential 
principle of government itself."^' 

The result of the election was not a surprise. Fremont's 
loss of Pennsylvania and Indiana had been foreshadowed in 
October, making his defeat inevitable, but the Republican 
victory in New York was more sweeping than the leaders 
had anticipated, Fremont securing a majority of 80,000 over 
Buchanan, and John A. King 65,000 over Amasa J. Parker.^^ 

=" Edward Gary, Life of Oeorge William Curtis, p. 113; New York 
Weekly Tribune, August 16, 1856. 

" Ibid., Aug-ust 16, 1856. 

"" John A. King', 264,400; Amasa J. Parker, 198,616; Erastus Brooks, 
130,870.— CmJ List, State of New York (1887), p. 166. 


The average vote was as follows: Republican, 266,328; 
Democrat, 197,172; Know-Nothing, 129,750. West and north 
of Albany, every congressman and nearly every assemblyman 
was a Republican. Reuben E. Fenton, who had been beaten 
for Congress in 1854 by 1676 votes, was now elected by 8000 
over the same opponent. The Assembly stood 82 Republicans, 
37 Democrats, and 8 Know-Nothings. In the country at 
large, Buchanan obtained 174 electoral votes out of 296, but 
■he failed to receive a majority of the popular vote, leaving the 
vanquished more hopeful and not less cheerful than the vic- 
tors. Fillmore received the electoral vote of Maryland and 
a popular vote of 874,534, nearly one-half as many as 
Buchanan and two-thirds as many as Fremont. In other 
words, he had divided the vote of the North, making it pos- 
sible for Buchanan to carry Pennsylvania and Indiana. 



It was the duty of the Legislature of 1857 to elect a suc- 
cessor to Hamilton Fish, whose term as United States sen- 
ator expired on the 4th of March. Fish had not been a con- 
spicuous member of the Senate; but his great wisdom 
brought him large influence at a time when slavery strained 
the courtesy of that body. He was of a most gracious and 
sweet nature, and, although he never flinched from uttering 
or maintaining his opinions, he was a lover and maker of 
peace. In his AutoMography of Seventy Years, Senator Hoar 
speaks of him as the only man of high character and great 
ability among the leaders of the Republican party, except 
President Grant, who retained the friendship of Roscoe 

The contest over the senatorship brought into notice a dis- 
position among Republicans of Democratic antecedents not 
to act in perfect accord with Thurlow Weed, a danger that 
leading Whigs had anticipated at the formation of the party. 
Weed's management had been disliked by anti-slavery Demo- 
crats as much as it had been distrusted by a portion of the 
Whig party, and, although political associations now 
brought them under one roof, they did not accept him as a 
guiding or controlling spirit. This disposition manifested 
itself at the state convention in the preceding September; 
and to allay any bitterness of feeling which the nomination 
of John A. King might occasion, it was provided that, in the 
event of success, the senator should be of Democratic antece- 
dents. The finger of fate then pointed to Preston King. He 
had resisted the aggressions of the slave power, and in the 



formation of the Eepublican party his fearless fidelity to its 
corner-stone principle made him doubly welcome in council ; 
but when the Legislature met, other aspirants appeared, 
prominent among whom were Ward Hunt, James S. Wads- 
worth, and David Dudley Field. 

Hunt, who was destined to occupy a place on the Court 
of Appeals, and, subsequently, on the Supreme Court of the 
United States, had taken little interest in politics. He be- 
longed to the Democratic party, and, in 1839, had served one 
term in the Assembly; but his consistent devotion to Free- 
soilism, and his just and almost prescient appreciation of 
the true principles of the Republican party, gave him great 
prominence in the ranks of the young organisation and cre- 
ated a strong desire to send him to the United States Senate. 
Hunt was anxious and Wadsworth active. The latter's sup- 
porters, standing for him as their candidate for governor, 
had forced the agreement of the year before, and they now 
demanded that he become senator ; but in the interest of har- 
mony, both finally withdrew in favour of David Dudley 

The inspiration of an historic name did not yet belong 
to the Field family. The projector of the Atlantic cable, the 
future justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, 
and the eminent New York editor, had not taken their places 
among the most gifted of the land, but David Dudley's ac- 
tivity in the Free-soil contests had made him as conspicuous 
a member of the new party as his celebrated Code of Civil 
Procedure, passed by the Legislature of 1848, had distin- 
guished him in his profession. Promotion did not move his 
way, however. Thurlow Weed insisted upon Preston King. 
It is likely the Albany editor had not forgotten that Field, 
acting for George Opdyke, a millionaire client, had sued him 
for libel, and that, although the jury disagreed,, the exciting 
trial had crowded the court-room for nineteen days and cost 
seventeen thousand dollars; but Weed did not appeal to 
Field's record, since he claimed the agreement at the state 
convention included John A. King for governor and Preston 

1857] PEESTON KING 245 

King for senator, and to avoid controversy he adroitly con- 
sented to leave the matter to Republican legislators of Demo- 
cratic antecedents, who decided in favour of King. This 
ended the contest, the caucus giving King 65 votes and 
Hunt 17. 

In 1857, events gave the Republican party little encour- 
agement in'New York. Public interest in Kansas had largely 
died out, and, although the Dred Scott decision, holding in- 
ferentially that the Constitution carried with it the right and 
power to hold slaves everywhere, had startled the nation, 
leading press, pulpit, and public meetings to denounce it as 
a blow at the rights of States and to the rights of man, yet 
the Democrats carried the State in November, electing Gid- 
eon J. Tucker secretary of state, Sanford E. Church comp- 
troller, Lyman Tremaine attorney-general, and Hiram Denio 
to the Court of Appeals. It was not a decisive victory. The 
Know-Nothings, who held the balance of power, involuntarily 
contributed a large portion of their strength to the Demo- 
cratic party, giving it an aggregate vote of 194,000 to 175,000 
for the Republicans, and reducing the vote of James O. Put- 
nam, of Buffalo, the popular American candidate for secre- 
tary of state, to less than 67,000, or one-half the number 
polled in the preceding year. 

Other causes contributed to the apparent decrease of Re- 
publican strength. The financial disturbance of 1857 ap- 
peared with great suddenness in August. There had been 
fluctuations in prices, with a general downward tendency, 
but when the crisis came it was a surprise to many of the 
most watchful financiers. Industry and commerce were less 
affected than in 1837, but the failures, representing a larger 
amount of capital than those of any other year in the history 
of the country up to 1893, astonished the people, associating 
in the public mind the Democratic charge of Republican ex- 
travagance with the general cry of hard times. 

But whatever the cause of defeat, the outlook for the Re- 
publicans again brightened when Stephen A. Douglas op- 
posed President Buchanan's Lecompton policy. The Kansas 


Lecompton Constitution was the work of a rump convention 
controlled by pro-slavery delegates who declared that "the 
right of property is before and higher than any constitutional 
sanction, and the right of the owner of a slave to such slave 
and its increase is as inviolable as the right of the owner of 
any property whatever." To secure its approval by the peo- 
ple it was ingeniously arranged that the vote taken in De- 
cember, 1857, should be "for the constitution with slavery" 
or "for the constitution without slavery," so that in any 
event the constitution, with its objectionable section, would 
become the organic law. This shallow scheme, hatched in 
the South to fix slavery upon a territory that had already de- 
clared for freedom by several thousand majority, obtained 
the support of the President. Douglas immediately pro- 
nounced it "a trick" and "a fraud upon the rights of the peo- 
ple."^ The breach between the Illinois Senator and the Ad- 
ministration thus became complete. 

Meantime, the governor of Kansas convened the territo- 
rial legislature in an extra session, which provided for a sec- 
ond election in January, 1858. The December election had 
stood : for the constitution with slavery, 6226 ; for the con- 
stitution without slavery, 569. Of these 2720 were subse- 
quently shown to be fraudulent. The January election stood : 
for the constitution with slavery, 138; for the constitution 
without slavery, 2i; against the constitution, 10,226. The 
President, accepting the "trick election," as Douglas called 
it, in which the free-state men declined to participate, for- 
warded a copy of the constitution to Congress, and, in spite 
of Douglas, it passed the Senate. An amendment in the 
House returned it to the people with the promise, if accepted, 
of a large grant of government land ; but the electors spurned 
the bribe — the free-state men, at a third election held on Au- 
gust 2, 1858, rejecting the constitution by 11,000 out of 13,000 

This ended the Lecompton episode, but it was destined to 
leave a breach in the ranks of the Democrats big with con- 
' This debate occurred December 22, 1857. 


sequences. Stephen A. Douglas was now the best known and 
most popular man in the North, and his popular sovereignty 
doctrine, as applied to the Lecompton Constitution, seemed 
so certain of settling the slavery question in the interest of 
freedom that leading Republicans of New York, notably 
Henry J. Raymond and Horace Greeley, not only favoured 
the return of Douglas to the Senate unopposed by their own 
party, but seriously considered the union of Douglas Demo- 
crats and Republicans. It was even suggested that Douglas 
become the Republican candidate for President. This would 
head off Seward and please Greeley, whose predilection for 
an "available" candidate was only equalled by his growing dis- 
trust of the New York Senator. The unanimous nomination 
of Abraham Lincoln for United States senator and his great 
debate with Douglas, disclosing the incompatibility between 
Douglasism and Republicanism, abruptly ended this plan; 
but the plausible assumption that the inhabitants of a terri- 
tory had a natural right to establish, as well as prohibit, 
slavery had made such a profound impression upon Northern 
Democrats that they did not hesitate to approve the Douglas 
doctrine regardless of its unpopularity in the South. 

In the summer of 1858, candidates for governor were nomi- 
nated in New York. The Republican convention, convened 
at Syracuse on the 8th of September, like its predecessor 
in 1856, was divided into Weed and anti-Weed delegates. 
The latter, composed of Know-Nothings, Radicals of Demo- 
cratic antecedents, and remnants of the prohibition party, 
wanted Timothy Jenkins for governor. Jenkins was a very 
skilful political organiser. He had served Oneida County as 
district attorney and for six years in Congress, and he now 
had the united support of many men who, although without 
special influence, made a very formidable showing. But 
Weed was not looking in that direction. His earliest choice 
was Simeon Draper of New York City, whom he had thrust 
aside two years before, and when sudden financial embar- 
rassment rendered Draper unavailable, he encouraged the 
candidacy of James H. Cook of Saratoga until Jenkins' 


strength alarmed him. Then he took up Edwin D. Morgan, 
and for the first time became a delegate to a state convention. 
Weed found a noisy company at Syracuse. Horace Greeley 
as usual was in a receptive mood. The friends of George 
Patterson thought it time for his promotion. Alexander S. 
Diven of Elmira, a state senator and forceful speaker, who 
subsequently served one term in Congress, had several active, 
influential backers, while John A. King's friends feebly re- 
sisted his retirement. The bulk of the Americans opposed 
Edwin D. Morgan because of his broad sympathies with for- 
eign-born citizens; but Weed clung to him, and on the first 
ballot he received 116 of the 254 votes. Jenkins got 51 and 
Greeley 3. On the next ballot one of Greeley's votes went to 
Jenkins, who received 52 to 165 for Morgan. Robert Camp- 
bell of Steuben was then nominated for lieutenant-governor 
by acclamation and Seward's senatorial course unqualifiedly 

Edwin D. Morgan was in his forty-eighth year. He had 
been alderman, merchant, and railroad president; for foTir 
years in the early fifties he served as a state senator ; more 
recently, he had acted as chairman of the Republican state 
committee and of the Republican national convention. Weed 
did not have Morgan's wise, courageous course as war gov- 
ernor, Union general, and United States senator to guide 
him, but he knew that his personal character was of the 
highest, his public life without stain, and that he had wielded 
the power of absolute disinterestedness. Morgan was a fine 
specimen of manhood. He stood perfectly erect, with well 
poised head, his large, lustrous eyes inviting confidence ; and 
the urbanity of his manner softening the answers that 
showed he possessed a mind of his own. No man among his 
contemporaries had a larger number of devoted friends. He 
was a New Englander by birth. More than one person of his 
name and blood in Connecticut was noted for public spirit, 
but none developed greater courage, or evidenced equal sagac- 
ity and efficiency. 

For several weeks before the convention, the Americans 


talked of a fusion ticket with the Republicans, and to encour- 
age the plan both state conventions met at the same time 
and place. In sentiment they were in substantial accord, and 
men like Washington Hunt, the former governor, and James 
O. Putnam, hoped for union. Hunt had declined to join the 
Republican party at its formation, and, in 1856, had followed 
Fillmore inta the ranks of the Americans ; but their division 
in 1857 disgusted him, and, with Putnam and many others, 
he was now favourable to a fusion of the two parties. After 
conferring for two days, however, the Republicans made 
the mistake of nominating candidates for governor and lieu- 
tenant-governor before agreeing upon a division of the of- 
fices, at which the Americans took offence and put up a sep- 
arate ticket, with Lorenzo Burrows for governor. Burrows 
was a man of considerable force of character, a native of 
Connecticut, and a resident of Albion. He had served four 
years in Congress as a Whig, and in 1855 was elected state 
comptroller as a Know-Nothing. 

The failure of the fusionists greatly pleased the Demo-^ 
crats, who, in spite of the bitter contest for seats in the New 
York City delegation, exhibited confidence and some enthu- 
siasm at their state convention on September 15. The Softs, 
led by Daniel E. Sickles, represented Tammany; the Hards, 
marshalled by Fernando Wood, were known as the custom- 
house delegation. In 1857, the city delegates had been evenly 
divided between the two factions; but this year the Softs, 
confident of their strength, insisted upon having their entire 
delegation seated, and, on a motion to make Horatio Seymour 
temporary chairman, they proved their control by a vote of 
54 to 35. The admission of Tammany drew a violent protest 
from Fernando Wood and his delegates, who then left the 
convention in a body amidst a storm of hisses and cheers. 

A strong disposition existed to nominate Seymour for gov- 
ernor. Having been thrice a candidate and once elected, how- 
ever, he peremptorily declined to stand. This left the way 
open to Amasa J. Parker, an exceptionally strong candidate,, 
but one who had led the ticket to defeat in 1856. John J. 


Taylor of Oswego, whose congressional career had been lim- 
ited to a single term because of his vote for the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill in 1854, became the nominee for lientenant-gov- 
ernor by acclamation. In its platform, the convention very 
cunningly resolved that it was "content" to have the Ameri- 
can people judge President Buchanan's administration by its 
acts, and that it "hailed with satisfaction" the fact that the 
people of Kansas had settled the Lecompton question by 
practically making the territory a free State. 

Thus Parker stood for Buchanan and popular sovereignty, 
■while the Republicans denounced the Lecompton trick as a 
wicked scheme to subvert popular sovereignty. It was a 
sharp issue. The whole power of the Administration had 
teen invoked to carry out the Lecompton plan, and New York 
congressmen were compelled to support it or be cast aside. 
But in their speeches, Parker and his supporters sought to 
minimise the President's part and to magnify the Douglas 
doctrine. It was an easy and plausible way of settling the 
slavery question, and one which commended itself to those 
■who wished it settled by the Democratic party. John Van 
Buren's use of it recalled something of the influence and 
power that attended his speeches in the Free-soil campaigJi 
of 1848. Since that day he had been on too many sides, per- 
haps, to command the hearty respect of any, but he loved 
fair play, which the Lecompton scheme had outraged, and 
the application of the doctrine that seemed to have brought 
peace and a free State to the people appealed to him as a 
■correct principle of government that must make for good. 
He presented it in the clear, impassioned style for which he 
was so justly noted. His speeches contained much that did 
not belong in the remarks of a statesman; but, upon the 
question of popular sovereignty, as illustrated in Kansas, 
John Van Buren prepared the way in New York for the can- 
didacy and coming of Douglas in 1860. 

Roscoe Conkling, now for the first time a candidate for 
Congress, exhibited something of the dexterity and ability 
that characterised his subsequent career. The public, friends 


and foes, did not yet judge him by a few striking and pictur- 
esque qualities, for his vanity, imperiousness, and power to 
hate had not yet matured, but already he was a close student 
of political history, and of great capacity as an orator. The 
intense earnestness of purpose, the marvellous power of rap- 
idly absorbing knowledge, the quickness of wit, and the firm- 
ness which C5&to never surpassed, marked him then, as after- 
ward upon the floor of Congress, a mighty power amidst 
great antagonists. Perhaps his anger was not so quickly ex- 
cited, nor the shafts of his sarcasm so barbed and cruel, 
but his speeches — dramatic, rhetorical, with the ever-present, 
withering sneer — were rapidly advancing him to leadership 
in central New York. A quick glance at his tall, graceful 
form, capacious chest, and massive head, removed him from 
the class of ordinary persons. Towering above his fellows, 
he looked the patrician. It was known, too, that he had mus- 
cle as well as brains. Indeed, his nomination to Congress 
had been influenced somewhat by the recent assault on 
Charles Sumner. "Preston Brooks won't hurt him," said 
the leader of the Fifth Ward, in Utica.^ 

The keynote of the campaign, however, was not spoken 
until Seward made his historic speech at Rochester on Oc- 
tober 25. The October success in Pennsylvania had thrilled 
the Republicans ; and the New York election promised a vic- 
tory like that of 1856. Whatever advantage could be gained 
by past events and future expectations was now Sew- 
ard's. Lincoln's famous declaration, "I believe this govern- 
ment cannot endure permanently half slave and half free," 
had been uttered in June, and his joint debate with Douglas, 
concluded on October 15, had cleared the political atmos- 
phere, making it plain that popular sovereignty was not the 
pathway for Republicans to follow. Seward's utterance, 
therefore, was to be the last word in the campaign. 

It was not entirely clear just what this utterance would 
be. Seward had shown much independence of late. In the 
preceding February his course on the army bill caused se- 

" Alfred K. Conkling, Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling, p. 77. 


vere comment. Because of diflSculties with the Mormons in 
Utah it was proposed to increase the army ; but Republicans 
objected, believing the additional force would be improperly 
used in Kansas. Seward, however, spoke and voted for the 
bill. "He is perfectly bedevilled," wrote Senator Fessenden ; 
"he thinks himself wiser than all of us."^ Later, in March, 
he caught something of the popular-sovereignty idea — 
enough, at least, to draw a mild protest from Salmon 1'. 
Chase. "I regretted," he wrote, "the apparent countenance 
you gave to the idea that the Douglas doctrine of poular sov- 
ereignty will do for us to stand upon for the present."* Sew- 
ard did not go so far as Greeley and Raymond, but his ex- 
pressions indicated that States were to be admitted with 
or without slavery as the people themselves decided. Before, 
he had insisted that Congress had the right to make condi- 
tions; now, his willingness cheerfully to co-operate with 
Douglas and other "new defenders of the sacred cause in 
Kansas" seemed to favour a new combination, if not a new 
party. In other words, Seward had been feeling his way 
until it aroused a faint suspicion that he was trimming to 
catch the moderate element of his party. If he had had any 
thought of harmony of feeling between Douglas and 
the Republicans, however, the Lincoln debate compelled him 
to abandon it, and in his speech of October 25 he confined 
himself to the discussion of the two radically different politi- 
cal systems that divided the North and the South. 

The increase in population and in better facilities for in- 
ternal communication, he declared, had rapidly brought these 
two systems into close contact, and collision was the result. 
"Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think 
it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanati- 
cal agitators, and therefore ephemeral, mistake the case alto- 
gether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and 
enduring forces, and it means that the United States must 
and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slave-hold- 

' James S. Pike, First Blows of the Civil War, p. 379. 
* Warden, Life of Chase, p. 343. 


ing nation, or entirely a free labour nation. Either the cot- 
ton and rice fields of South Carolina and the sugar planta- 
tions of Louisiana will ultimately be tilled by free labour, 
and Charleston and New Orleans become marts for legiti- 
mate merchandise alone, or else the rye fields and wheat 
fields of Massachusetts and New York must again be sur- 
rendered by their farmers to slave culture and to the pro- 
duction of slaves, and Boston and New York become once 
more markets for trade in the bodies and souls of men."^ 

It was one of the most impressive and commanding 
speeches that had ever come from his eloquent lips, but there 
was nothing new in it. As early as 1848 he had made the 
antagonism between freedom and slavery the leading feature 
of a speech that attracted much attention at the time, and in 
1856 he spoke of "an ancient and eternal conflict between 
two entirely antagonistic systems of human labour." In- 
deed, for ten years, in company with other distinguished 
speakers, he had been ringing the changes on this same idea. 
Only four months before, Lincoln had proclaimed that "A 
house divided against itself cannot stand."^ Yet no one had 
given special attention to it. But now the two words, "irre- 
pressible conflict," seemed to sum up the antipathy between 
the two systems, and to alarm men into a realisation of the 
real and perhaps the immediate danger that confronted them. 
"Hitherto," says Frederick W. Seward in the biography of 
his father, "while it was accepted and believed by those who 
followed his political teachings, among his opponents it had 
fallen upon unheeding ears and incredulous minds. But now, 
at last, the country was beginning to wake up to the gravity 
of the crisis, and when he pointed to the 'irrepressible con- 
flict' he was formulating, in clear words, a vague and unwill- 
ing belief that was creeping over every intelligent Northern 

The effect was instantaneous. Democratic press and ora- 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 351. 

"Lincoln-Douglas Debates, p. 48. 

T. W. Seward, Ufe of W. H. Seward, Vol. 8, p. 353. 


tors became hysterical, denouncing him as "vile," "wicked," 
"malicious," and "vicious." The Herald called him an "arch- 
agitator," more dangerous than Beecher, Garrison, or Theo- 
dore Parker. It was denied that any conflict existed except 
such as he was trying to foment. Even the New York Times, 
his own organ, thought the idea of abolishing slavery in the 
slave States rather fanciful, while the Springfield Republi- 
can pronounced his declaration impolitic and likely to do 
. him and his party harm. On the other hand, the radical anti- 
slavery papers thought it bold and commendable. "With the 
instinct of a statesman," the Tribune said, "Seward discards 
all minor, temporary, and delusive issues, and treats only of 
what is final and essential. Clear, calm, sagacious, profound, 
and impregnable, showing a masterly comprehension of the 
present aspect and future prospects of the great question 
which now engrosses our politics,this speech will be pondered 
by every thoughtful man in the land and confirm the emi- 
nence so long maintained by its author,"* James Watson 
Webb, in the Courier and Enquirer, declared that it made 
Seward and Republicanism one and inseparable, and settled 
the question in New York as to who should be the standard- 
bearer in 1860. 

'New York Baihj Tr%bune, October 27, 1858. 

"Few speeches from the stump have attracted so great attention 
or exerted so great an influence. The eminence of the man com- 
bined with the startling character of the doctrine to make it en- 
gross the public mind. Republicans looked upon the doctrine an- 
nounced as the well-weighed conclusion of a profound thinker and 
of a man of wide experience, who united the political philosopher 
with the practical politician. It is not probable that Lincoln's 
'house divided against itself speech had any influence in bringing 
Seward to this position. He would at this time have scorned the 
notion of borrowing ideas from Lincoln; and had he studied the 
progress of the Illinois canvass, he must have seen tjiat the declara- 
tion did not meet with general favour. In February of this year 
there had been bodied forth in Seward the politician. Now, a far- 
seeing statesman spoke. One was compared to Webster's 7th-of- 
March speech, — the other was commended by the Abolitionists." — 
James F. Bhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 2, pp. 344-5. 


The result of the election was favourable to the Republi- 
cans, Morgan's majority over Parker being 17,440.^ Ninety- 
nine members of the Legislature and twenty-nine congress- 
men were either Republicans or anti-Lecompton men. But, 
compared with the victory of 1856, it was a disappointment. 
John A. King had received a majority of 65,000 over Parker. 
The Tribune'was quick to charge some of this loss to Seward. 
"The clamour against Sewardism lost us many votes," it de- 
clared the morning after the election. Two or three days 
later, as the reduced majority became more apparent, it ex- 
plained that "A knavish clamour was raised on the eve of 
election by a Swiss press against Governor Seward's late 
speech at Rochester as revolutionary and disunionist. Our 
loss from this source is considerable." The returns, however, 
showed plainly that one-half of the Americans, following the 
precedent set in 1857, had voted for Parker, while the other 
half, irritated by the failure of the union movement at Syra- 
cuse, had supported Burrows. Had the coalition succeeded, 
Morgan's majority must have been larger than King's. But, 
small as it was, there was abundant cause for Republican 
rejoicing, since it kept the Empire State in line with the Re- 
publican States of New England, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and 
Wisconsin, which were now joined for the first time by Penn- 
sylvania, New Jersey, and Minnesota. Indeed, of the free 
States, only California and Oregon had indorsed Buchanan's 

"Edwin D. Morgan, 247,953; Amasa J. Parker, 230,513; Lorenzo 
Burrows, 60,880; Gerrit Smith, 5470. — Civil List, State of New York 
(1887), p. 166. 



The elections in 1858 simplified the political situation. 
With the exception of Pennsylvania, where the tariff question 
played a conspicuous part, all the Northern States had dis- 
approved President Buchanan's Lecompton policy, and the 
people, save the old-line Whigs, the Abolitionists, and the 
Americans, had placed themselves under the leadership of 
Seward, Lincoln, and Douglas, who now clearly represented 
the political sentiments of the North. If any hope still lin- 
gered among the Democrats of New York, that the sectional 
division of their party might be healed, it must have been 
quickly shattered by the fierce debates over popular sov- 
ereignty and the African slave-trade which occurred in the 
United States Senate in February, 1859, between Jefferson 
Davis, representing the slave power of the South, and 
Stephen A. Douglas, the recognised champion of his party in 
the free States. 

Under these circumstances, the Democratic national con- 
vention, called to meet in Charleston, South Carolina, on 
April 23, 1860, became the centre of interest in the state con- 
vention, which met at Syracuse on the 14th of September, 
1859. Each faction desired to control the national dele- 
gation. As usual, Daniel S. Dickinson was a candidate for 
the Presidency. He believed his friends in the »South would 
prefer him to Douglas if he could command an unbroken 
New York delegation, and, with the hope of having the dele- 
gates selected by districts as the surer road to success, he 
fiirted with Fernando Wood until the latter's perfidy turned 



his ear to the siren song of the Softs, who promised him a 
solid delegation whenever it could secure his nomination. 
Dickinson listened with distrust. He was the last of the old 
leaders of the Hards. Seymour and Marcy had left them ; but 
"Scripture Dick," as he was called, because of his many Bible 
quotations, stood resolutely and arrogantly at his post, defy- 
ing the maohinations of his opponents with merciless criti- 
cism. The Binghamton Stalwart did not belong in the first 
rank of statesmen. He was neither an orator nor a tactful 
party leader. It cannot be said of him that he was a quick- 
witted, incisive, and successful debater ;^ but, on critical days, 
when the fate of his faction hung in the balance, he was a 
valiant fighter, absolutely without fear, who took blows as 
bravely as he gave them, and was loyal to all the interests 
which he espoused. He now dreaded the Softs bearing gifts. 
But their evident frankness and his supreme need melted 
the estrangement that had long existed between them. 

In the selection of delegates to the state convention Fer- 
nando Wood and Tammany had a severe struggle. Tammany 
won, but Wood appeared at Syracuse with a full delegation, 
and for half an hour before the convention convened Wood 
endeavoured to do by force what he knew could not be ac- 
complished by votes. He had brought with him a company of 
roughs, headed by John C. Heenan, "the Benicia Boy," and 
fifteen minutes before the appointed hour, in the absence of 
a majority of the delegates, he organised the convention, 
electing his own chairman and appointing his own commit- 
tees. When the bulk of the Softs arrived they proceeded to 
elect their chairman. This was the signal for a riot, in the 
course of which the chairman of the regulars was knocked 
down and an intimidating display of pistols exhibited. 
Finally the regulars adjourned, leaving the hall to the Wood 
contestants, who completed their organisation, and, after re- 

' " 'Scripture Dick,' whom we used to consider the sorriest of slow 
jokers, has really brightened up." — ^New York Tribune, March 17, 


nominating the Democratic state officers elected in 1857, ad- 
journed without day. 

Immediately, the regulars reappeared; and as the Hards 
from the up-state counties answered to the roll call, the 
Softs vociferously applauded. Then Dickinson made a char- 
acteristic speech. He did not fully decide to join the Softs 
until Fernando Wood had sacrificed the only chance of over- 
throwing them; but when he did go over, he burned the 
bridges behind him. The Softs were delighted with Dickin- 
son's bearing and Dickinson's speech. It united the party 
throughout the State and put Tammany in easy control of 
New York City 

With harmony restored there was little for the conven- 
tion to do except to renominate the state officers, appoint 
delegates to the Charleston convention who were instructed 
to vote as a unit, and adopt the platform. These reso- 
lutions indorsed the administration of President Buchanan ; 
approved popular sovereignty ; condemned the "irrepressible 
conflict" speech of Seward as a "revolutionary threat" aimed 
at republican institutions; and opposed the enlargement of 
the Erie canal to a depth of seven feet. 

The Republican state convention had previously assembled 
on September 7 and selected a ticket, equally divided be- 
tween men of Democratic and Whig antecedents, headed by 
Elias W. Leavenworth for secretary of state. Great con- 
fidence was felt in its election until the Americans met iu 
convention on September 22 and indorsed five of its candi- 
dates and four Democrats. This, however, did not abate Re- 
publican activity, and, in the end, six of the nine Republi- 
can nominees were elected. The weight of the combined op- 
position, directed against Leavenworth, caused his defeat by 
less than fifteen hundred, showing that Republicans were 
gradually absorbing all the anti-slavery elements. 

Upon what theory the American party nominated an eclec- 
tic ticket did not appear, although the belief obtained that it 
hoped to cloud Seward's presidential prospects by creating 
the impression that the Senator was unable, without assist- 

1859] JOHN BEOWN'S EAID 259- 

ance, to carry his own State on the eve of a great national 
contest. But whatever the reason, the result deeply humil- 
iated the party, since its voting strength, reduced to less than 
21,000, proved insufficient to do more than expose the weak- 
ness. This was the last appearance of the American party. 
It had endeavoured to extend its life and incj-ease its influ- 
ence ; but after its refusal to interdict slavery in the territo- 
ries it rapidly melted away. Henry Wilson, senator and 
Vice President, declared that he would give ten years of his 
life if he could blot out his membership in the Know-Nothing^ 
party, since it associated him throughout his long and at- 
tractive public career with proscriptive principles of which 
he was ashamed. 

In the midst of the campaign the country was startled by 
John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry. For two years Brown 
had lived an uneventful life in New York on land in the 
Adirondack region given him by Gerrit Smith. In 1851, he 
moved to Ohio, and from thence to Kansas, where he became 
known as John Brown of Osawatomie. He had been a consist- 
ent enemy of slavery, working the underground railroad and 
sympathising with every scheme for the rescue of slaves ; but 
once in Kansas, he readily learned the use of a Sharpe'» 
rifle. In revenge for the destruction of Lawrence, he delib- 
erately massacred the pro-slavery settlers living along Potta- 
watomie creek. "Without the shedding of blood there is no 
remission of sins," was a favourite text. His activity made 
him a national character. The President offered $250 for his 
arrest and the governor of Missouri added $3000 more. In 
1858, he returned East, collected money to aid an insurrec- 
tion among the slaves of Virginia, and on October 17, 1859, 
with eighteen men, began his quixotic campaign by cutting 
telegraph wires, stopping trains, and seizing the national 
armory at Harper's Ferry. At one time he had taken sixty 

The aft'air was soon over, but not until the entire band was 
killed or captured. Brown, severely hurt, stood between two 
of his sons, one dead and the other mortally wounded, refus- 


ing to surrender so Jong as he could fight. After his capture, 
he said, coolly, in reply to a question : "We are Abolitionists 
from the North, come to release and take your slaves." 

The trial, conviction, and execution of Brown and his cap- 
tured companions ended the episode, but its influence was 
destined to be far-reaching. John Brown became idealised. 
His bearing as he stood between his dead and dying sons, 
his truth-telling answers, and the evidence of his absolute 
unselfishness filled many people in the North with a pro- 
found respect for the passion that had driven him on, while 
his bold invasion of a slave State and his reckless disregard 
of life and property alarmed the South into the sincere be- 
lief that his methods differed only in degree from the teach- 
ings of those who talked of an irrepressible conflict and a 
higher law. To aid him in regaining his lost position in the 
South, Stephen A. Douglas proclaimed it as his "firm and 
deliberate belief that the Harper Ferry crime was the nat- 
ural, logical, and inevitable result of the doctrine and teach- 
ings of the Republican party."^ 

The sentimentalists of the North generally sympathised 
with Brown. Emerson spoke of him as "that new saint 
awaiting his martyrdom, and who, if he shall suffer, will 
make the gallows glorious like the cross.'" In the same 
spirit Thoreau called him "an angel of light," and Longfel- 
low wrote in his diary on the day of the execution: "The 
date of a new revolution, quite as much needed as the old 
one."* But the Republican leaders deprecated the aflfair, 
characterising it as "among the gravest of crimes," and deny- 
ing that it had any relation to their party except as it in- 
fluenced the minds of all men for or against slavery. 

William H. Seward was in Europe at the time of the raid. 
Early in May, 1859, his friends had celebrated his departure 
from New York, escorting him to Sandy Hook,, and leaving 

' Congressional Globe, 36th Cong'., 1st Sess., pp. 553-4 (January 23, 
'James E. Cabot, Life of Emerson, p. 597. 
* Samuel Longiellow, Life of Longfellow, Vol. 2, p. 347. 


him finally amidst shouts and music, bells and whistles, and 
the waving of hats and handkerchiefs. Such a scene is com- 
mon enough nowadays, but then it was unique. His return 
at the close of December, after an absence of eight months, 
was the occasion of great rejoicing. A salute of a hundred 
guns was fired in City Hall Park, the mayor and common 
council tendered him a public reception, and after hours of 
speech-making and hand-shaking he proceeded slowly home- 
ward amidst waiting crowds at every station. At Auburu 
the streets were decorated, and the people, regardless of creed 
or party, escorted him in procession to his home. Few Ke- 
publicans in New York had any doubt at that moment of his 
nomination and election to the Presidency. 

On going to Washington Seward found the United States 
Senate investigating the Harper's Ferry affair and the House 
of Representatives deadlocked over the election of a speaker. 
Bitterness and threats of disunion characterised the proceed- 
ing at both ends of the Capitol. "This Union," said one con- 
gressman, "great and powerful as it is, can be tumbled down 
by the act of any one Southern State. If Florida withdraws, 
the federal government would not dare attack her. If it 
did, the bands would dissolve as if melted by lightning."' 
Referring to the possibility of the election of a Republican 
President, another declared that "We will never submit to 
the inauguration of a Black Republican President. You may 
elect Seward to be President of the North ; but of the South, 
never ! Whenever a President is elected by a fanatical major- 
ity of the North, those whom I represent are ready, let the 
consequences be what they may, to fall back on their reserved 
rights, and say, 'As to this Union we have no longer any lot 
or part in it.' "* 

In the midst of these fiery, disunion utterances, on the 21st 
of February, 1860, Seward introduced a bill for the admis- 
sion of Kansas into the Union. After the overwhelming de- 
feat of the Lecompton Constitution, the free-state men had 

• F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 441. 
•ZWd., p. 442. 


controlled the territorial legislature, repealed the slave code 
of 1855, and, in the summer of 1859, convened a constitu- 
tional convention at Wyandotte. A few weeks later the peo- 
ple ratified the result of its work by a large majority. It 
was this Wyandotte Constitution under which Seward pro- 
posed to admit Kansas, and he fixed the consideration of his 
measure for the 29th of February. This would be two days 
after Abraham Lincoln had spoken in New York City. 

Lincoln, whose fame had made rapid strides in the West 
since his debate with Douglas in 1858, had been anxious to 
visit New York. It was the home of Seward, the centre of 
Eepublican strength, and to him practically an unknown 
land. Through the invitation of the Young Men's Central 
Republican Union he was now to lecture at Cooper Institute 
on the 27th of February. It was arranged at first that he 
speak in Henry Ward Beecher's church, but the change, re- 
lieving him from too close association with the great apostle 
of abolition, opened a wider door for his reception. Per- 
sonally he was known to very few people in the city or 
State. In 1848, on his way to New England to take the 
stump, he had called upon Thurlow Weed at Albany, and to- 
gether they visited Millard Fillmore, then candidate for Vice 
President; b\it the meeting made such a slight impression 
upon the editor of the Evening Journal that he had entirely 
forgotten it. Thirty years before, in one of his journeys to 
Illinois, William Cullen Bryant had met him. Lincoln was 
then a tall, awkward lad, the captain of a militia company in 
the Black Hawk War, whose racy and original conversation 
attracted the young poet; but Bryant, too, had forgotten 
him, and it was long after the famous debate that he identi- 
fied his prairie acqiiaintance as the opponent of Douglas. 
Lincoln, however, did not come as a stranger. His encounter 
with the great Illinoisan had marked him as a ppwerful and 
logical reasoner whose speeches embraced every political is- 
sue of the day and cleared up every doubtful point. Well- 
informed people everywhere knew of him. He was not yet 
a national character, but he had a national reputation. 


Though Lincoln's lecture was one of a course, the admis- 
sion fee did not restrain an eager audience from filling the 
commodious hall. "Since the day of Clay and Webster," said 
the Tribune, "no man has spoken to a larger assemblage of 
the intellect and mental culture of our city.'" Bryant acted 
as chairman of the meeting, and other well-known men of 
the city oc(?upied the stage. In his Life of Lincoln, Herndon 
suggests that the new suit of clothes which seemed so fine in 
his Springfield home was in such awkward contrast with the 
neatly fitting dress of the New Yorkers that it disconcerted 
him, and the brilliant audience dazzled and embarrassed 
him; but his hearers thought only of the pregnant matter 
of the discourse, so calmly and logically discussed that Hor- 
ace Greeley, years afterward, pronounced it "the very best 
political address to which I ever listened, and I have heard 
some of Webster's grandest."* 

Lincoln had carefully prepared for the occasion. He came 
East to show what manner of man he was, and while he evi- 
denced deep moral feeling which kept his audience in a glow, 
he combined with it rare political sagacity, notably in omit- 
ting the "house divided against itself" declaration. He ar- 
gued that the Republican party was not revolutionary, but 
conservative, since it maintained the doctrine of the fathers 
who held and acted upon the opinion that Congress had the 
power to prohibit slavery in the territories. "Some of you," 
he said, addressing himself to the Southern people, "are for 
reviving the foreign slave trade; some for Congress forbid- 
ding the territories to prohibit slavery within their limits; 
some for maintaining slavery in the territories through the ju- 
diciary ; some for the 'great principle' that if one man would 
enslave another, no third man should object, fantastically 
called popular sovereignty; but never a man among you is 
in favour of federal prohibition of slavery in federal territo- 
ries, according to the practice of our fathers who formed 

' New York Tribune, February 28, 1860. 

» Century Magazine, July, 1891, p. 373. An address of Greeley 
written in 1868. 


the government under which we live. You say we have made 
the slavery question more prominent than it formerly w^as. 
We deny it. We admit that it is more prominent, but we deny 
that we made it so. It was not we, but you who discarded 
the old policy of the fathers." Of Southern threats of dis- 
union, he said : "Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that 
you will destroy the government unless you be allowed to 
construe and enforce the Constitution as you please on all 
points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin 
in all events." Referring to the Harper's Ferry episode, he 
said: "That affair in its philosophy corresponds with the 
many attempts related in history at the assassination of 
kings and emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppres- 
sion of a people, until he fancies himself commissioned by 
heaven to liberate them. He ventures the attempt which ends 
in little else than his own execution." 

Lincoln's lecture did not disappoint. He had entertained 
and interested the vast assemblage, which frequently rang 
with cheers and shouts of applause as the gestures and the 
mirth-provoking look emphasised the racy hits that punctu- 
ated the address. "No man," said the Tribune, "ever before 
made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York 
audience. He is one of Nature's orators."' 

Two days later, Seward addressed the United States Sen- 
ate. There is no evidence that he fixed this date because 
of the Cooper Institute lecture. The gravity of the political 
situation demanded some expression from him; but the 
knowledge of the time of Lincoln's speech gave him ample op- 
portunity to arrange to follow it with one of his own, if he 
wished to have the last word, or to institute a comparison 
of their respective views on the eve of the national conven- 
tion. However this may be, Seward regarded his utterances 
on this occasion of the utmost importance. He was the spe- 
cial object of Southern vituperation. A "Fire-Eater" of the 
South publicly advertised that he would be one of one hun- 
dred "gentlemen" to give twenty-five dollars each for the 
' New York Tribune, Marcti 1, 1860. 


heads of Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher, and forty 
other prominent Northern leaders in and out of Congress, 
but for the head of Seward his proposed subscription was 
multiplied twenty fold. It is noticeable that in this long list 
of "traitors" the name of Abraham Lincoln does not appear. 
It was Seward whom the South expected the Republican 
party would, nominate for President, and in him it saw the 
narrow-minded, selfish, obstinate Abolitionist who hated 
them as intensely as they despised him. To dispossess the 
Southern mind of this feeling the Auburn statesman now 
endeavoured to show that if elected President he would not 
treat the South unfriendly. 

Seward's speech bears evidence of careful preparation. It 
was not only read to friends for criticism, but Henry B. 
Stanton, in his Random Recollections, says that Seward, be- 
fore the day of its delivery, assisted him in describing such 
a scene in the Senate as he desired laid before the public. On 
his return to Washington, Seward had not been received 
with a show of friendship by his associates from the South. 
It was remarked that while Republican senators greeted him 
warmly, "his Southern friends were afraid to be seen talking 
to him." On the occasion of his speech, however, he wished 
the record to show every senator in his place and deeply 

Visitors to the Senate on the 29th of February crowded 
every available spot in the galleries. "But it was on the 
floor itself," wrote Stanton to the Tribune, "that the most in- 
teresting spectacle presented itself. Every senator seemed to 
be in his seat. Hunter, Davis, Toombs, Mason, Slidell, Ham- 
mond, Clingman, Brown, and Benjamin paid closest atten- 
tion to the speaker. Crittenden listened to every word. 
Douglas affected to be self-possessed ; but his nervousness of 
mien gave token that the truths now uttered awakened memo- 
ries of the Lecompton contest, when he, Seward, and Crit- 
tenden, the famous triumvirate, led the allies in their attack 
upon the Administration. The members of the House 
streamed over to the north wing of the Capitol almost in a 


body, leaving Eeagan of Texas to discourse to empty benches, 
while Seward held his levee in the Senate."^" 

Seward lacked the tones, the kindly eye, and the mirth- 
provoking look of Lincoln. His voice was husky, his man- 
ner didactic, and his physique unimposing, but he had the 
^ift of expression, and the ability to formulate his opinions 
and marshal his facts in lucid sentences that harmonised 
with Northern sentiments and became at once the creed and 
rallying cry of his party ; and, on this occasion, he held the 
Senate spellbound for two hours, the applause at one time 
becoming so long continued that the presiding ofiBcer threat- 
ened to clear the galleries. He was always calm and temper- 
ate. But it seemed now to be his desire, in language more 
subdued, perhaps, than he had ever used before, to allay the 
fears of what would happen should the Eepublican party 
succeed in electing a President; and, without the sacrifice of 
any principle, he endeavoured to outline the views of Ee- 
publicans and the spirit that animated himself. There was 
nothing new in his speech. He avoided the higher law and 
irrepressible conflict doctrines, and omitted his former dec- 
larations that slavery "can and must be abolished, and you 
and I can and must do it." In like manner he failed to de- 
mand, as formerly, that the Supreme Court "recede from its 
spurious judgment" in the Dred Scott case. But he reviewed 
with the same logic that had characterised his utterances for 
twenty years, the relation of the Constitution to slavery ; the 
influence of slavery upon both parties; the history of the 
Kansas controversy; and the manifest advantages of tTie 
Union, dwelling at length and with much originality, upon 
the firm hold it had upon the people, and the certainty that 
it would survive the rudest shocks of faction. Of the Har- 
per's Ferry afPair, Seward spoke with more sympathy than 
Xiincoln. "While generous and charitable natures will prob- 
ably concede that John Brown acted on earnest, though 
fatally erroneous convictions," he said, "yet all good citizens 
■will nevertheless agree that this attempt to execute an un- 
"New York Tribune, March 1, 1860. 


lawful iJurpose in Virginia by invasion, involving servile war, 
was an act of sedition and treason, and criminal in just the 
extent that it affected the public peace and was destructive 
of human happiness and life." 

It has been noted with increasing admiration that Lincoln 
and Seward, without consultation and in the presence of a 
great impeniding crisis, paralleled one another's views so 
closely. Each embodied the convictions and aspirations of 
his party. The spirit of an unsectarian patriotism that char- 
acterised Seward's speech proved highly satisfactory to the 
great mass of Rei-'ublicans. The New York Times rejoiced 
that its tone indicated "a desire to allay and remove un- 
founded prejudice from the public mind," and pronounced 
"the whole tenor of it in direct contradiction to the senti- 
ments which have been imputed to him on the strength of 
declarations which he has hitherto made."^^ Samuel Bowles 
of the Springfield Republican wrote Thurlow Weed that the 
state delegation — so "very marked" is the reaction in Sew- 
ard's favour — would "be so strong for him as to be against 
anybody else," and that "I hear of ultra old Whigs in Boston 
who say they are ready to take him up on his recent 
speech."^^ Charles A. Dana, then managing editor of the 
Tribune, declared that "Seward stock is rising," and Sal- 
mon P. Chase admitted that "there seems to be at present 
a considerable set toward Seward." Nathaniel P. Banks, 
who was himself spoken of as a candidate, thought Seward's 
prospects greatly enhanced. 

But a growing and influential body of men in the Repub- 
lican party severely criticised the speech because it lacked 
the moral earnestness of the "higher law" spirit. To them 
it seemed as if Seward had made a bid for the Presidency, 
and that the irrepressible conflict of 1858 was suddenly trans- 
formed into the condition of a mild and patient lover who 
is determined not to quarrel. "Differences of opinion, even 
on the subject of slavery," he said, "are with us political, not 

"New York Times, March 2, 1860. 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, LAfe of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 260. 


social or personal diflferences. There is not one disunionist 
or disloyalist among us all. We are altogether unconscious 
of any process of dissolution going on among us or around 
us. We have never been more patient, and never loved the 
representatives of other sections more than now. We bear 
the same testimony for the people around us here. We bear 
the same testimony for all the districts and States wo 

This did not sound like the terrible "irrepressible conflict" 
pictured at Rochester. Wendell Phillips' famous epigram 
that "Seward makes a speech in Washington on the tactics of 
the Republican party, but phrases it to suit Wall street,"^' 
voiced the sentiment of his critics. Garrison was not less 
severe. "The temptation which proved too powerful for 
Webster," he wrote, "is seducing Seward to take the same 
downward course."^* Greeley did not vigorously combat this 
idea. "Governor Seward," he said, "has so long been stig- 
matised as a radical that those who now first study his incul- 
cations carefully will be astonished to find him so eminently 
pacific and conservative. Future generations will be puzzled 
to comprehend how such sentiments as his, couched in the 
language of courtesy and suavity which no provocation can 
induce him to discard, should ever have been denounced as 

No doubt much of this criticism was due to personal jeal- 
ousy, or to the old prejudice against him as a Whig leader 
who had kept himself in accord with the changing tendencies 
of a progressive people, alternately exciting them with irre- 
pressible conflicts and soothing them with sentences of con- 
servative wisdom; but Bowles, in approving the speech be- 
cause it had brought ultra old Whigs of Boston to Seward's 
support, exposed the real reason for the adverse criticism, 
since an address that would capture an old-line Whig, who 
indorsed Fillmore in 1856, could scarcely satis'fy the type of 

" New York Tribune, March 22, 1860. 
"The Liberatw', March 9. 1860. 
"New York Tribune, March 2, 1860. 


Republicans who believed, with John A. Andrew, that 
whether the Harper's Ferry enterprise was wise or foolish, 
"John Brown himself is right." It is little wonder, perhaps, 
that these people began to doubt whether Seward had strong 




When the Democratic national convention opened at 
Charleston, South Carolina, on April 23, 1860, Fernando 
'\^'ood insisted upon the admission of his delegation on equal 
terms with Tammany. The supreme question was the nomi- 
nation of Stephen A. Douglas, and the closeness of the con- 
test between the Douglas and anti-Douglas forces made New 
York's thirty-five votes most important. Wood promised his 
support, if admitted, to the anti-Douglas faction ; the Softs, 
led by Dean Richmond, encouraged Douglas and whispered 
kindly words to the supporters of James Guthrie of Ken- 
tucky. It was apparent that Wood's delegation had no 
standing. It had been appointed before the legal hour for 
the convention's assembling in the absence of a majority of 
the delegates, and upon no theory could its regularity be ac- 
cepted ; but Wood, mild and bland in manner, made a favoiir- 
able impression in Charleston. No one would have pointed 
him oiit in a group of gentlemen as the redoubtable mayor 
of New York City, who invented surprises, and, with a reti- 
nue of roughs, precipitated trouble in conventions. His 
adroit speeches, too, had won him advantage, and when he 
pledged himself to the ultra men of the South his admission 
became a necessary factor to their success. This, naturally, 
threw the Softs into the camp of Douglas, whose support 
made their admission possible.^ , 

^ "The Fernando Wood movement was utterly overthrown in the 
preliminary stages. Several scenes in the fig-ht were highly enter- 
taining. Mr. Fisher of Virginia was picked out to make the on- 
slaught, when John Cochrane of New York, who is the brains of 



The New York delegation, composed of distinguished busi- 
ness men and adroit politicians, was divided into two fac- 
tions, each one fancying itself the more truly patriotic, pub- 
lic-spirited, and independent.^ The Softs had trapped the 
Hards into allegiance with the promise of a solid support 
for Dickinson whenever the convention manifested a disposi- 
tion to rally around him — and then gagged them by a rigid 
unit rule. This made Dickinson declamatory and bitter, 
while the Softs themselves, professing devotion to Douglas, 
exhibited an unrest which indicated that changed conditions 
would easily change their devotion. Altogether, it was a dis- 
appointing delegation, distrusted by the Douglas men, feared 
by the South, and at odds with itself; yet, it is doubtful if 
the Empire State ever sent an abler body of men to a na- 
tional convention. Its chairman, Dean Richmond, now at 
the height of his power, was a man of large and comprehen- 
sive vision, and, although sometimes charged with insincerity, 
his rise in politics had not been more rapid than his success 
in business. Before his majority he had become the director 
of a bank, and at the age of thirty-eight he had established 
himself in Buffalo as a prosperous dealer and shipper. Then, 
he aided in consolidating seven corporations into the New 
York Central Railroad — securing the necessary legislation 
for the purpose — ^and in 1853 had become its vice president. 
Eleven years later, and two years before his death, he be- 
came its president. In 1860, Dean Richmond was in his forty- 
seventh year, incapable of any meanness, yet adroit, shrewd, 
and skilful, stating very perfectly the judgment of a clear- 
headed and sound business man. As chairman of the Demo- 
cratic state committee, he was a somewhat rugged but an in- 
tensely interesting personality, who had won deservedly by 
his work a foremost place among the most influential na- 
the Cagger-Cassidy delegation, shut him off with a point of order." — 
M. Halstead, Nutional Political Conventions of 1860, p. 20. 

'"Many of New York's delegates were eminent men of business, 
anxious for peace; others were adroit politicians, adept at a trade 
and eager to held the party together by any means." — James F. 
Bhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 2, p. 474. 


tional leaders of the party. His opinion carried great weight, 
and, though he spoke seldom, his mind moved rapidly by a 
very simple and direct path to correct conclusions.* 

Around Richmond were clustered August Belmont and 
Augustus Schell of New York City, Peter Cagger and Erastus 
Corning of Albany, David L. Seymour of Troy, Sanford E. 
Church of Albion, and a dozen others quite as well known. 
Perhaps none of them equalled the powerful Richardson of 
Illinois, who led the Douglas forces, or his brilliant lieuten- 
ant, Charles E. Stuart of Michigan, whose directions and 
suggestions on the floor of the convention, guided by an un- 
erring knowledge of parliamentary law, were regarded with 
something of dread even by Caleb Cushing, the gifted presi- 
dent of the convention; but John Cochrane of New York 
City, who had attended Democratic state and national con- 
ventions for a quarter of a century, was quite able to rep- 
resent the Empire State to its advantage on the floor or else- 
where. He was a man of a high order of ability, and an ac- 
complished and forceful public speaker, whose sonorous 
voice, imposing manner, and skilful tactics made him at 
home in a parliamentary fight. "Cochrane is a large but not 
a big man," said a correspondent of the day, "full in the 
region of the vest, and wears his beard, which is coarse and 
sandy, trimmed short. His head is bald, and his countenance 
bold, and there are assurances in his complexion that he is a 
generous liver. He is a fair type of the fast man of intellect 
and culture, whose ambition is to figure in politics. He is 
in Congress and can command the ear of the House at any 
time. His great trouble is his Free-soil record. He took Free- 
soilism like a distemper and mounted the Buffalo platform. 
He is well over it now, however, with the exception of a sin- 
gle heresy — ^the homestead law. He is for giving homesteads 
to the actual settlers upon the public land.'"* • 

' "Though destitute of all literary furnishment, Kichmond carried 
on his broad shoulders one of the clearest heads in the ranks of 
the Barnburners." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 183. 

' M. Halstead, Watwnal Political Conventions of 1860, p. 20. 


Douglas had a majority of the delegates in the Charleston 
convention. But, with the aid of California and Oregon, the 
South had seventeen of the thirty-three States. This gave it 
a majority of the committee on resolutions, and, after five 
anxious days of protracted and earnest debate, that commit- 
tee reported a platform declaring it the duty of the federal 
government 'to protect slavery in the territories, and deny- 
ing the power of a territory either to abolish slavery or to 
destroy the rights of property in slaves by any legislation 
whatever. The minority reafflrmed the Cincinnati platform 
of 1856, with the following preamble and resolution : "Inas- 
much as differences of opinion exist in the Democratic party 
as to the nature and extent of the powers of a territorial 
legislature, and as to the powers and duties of Congress over 
the institution of slavery within the territories; Resolved, 
that the Democratic party will abide by the decisions of the 
Supreme Court on the questions of constitutional law." 

It was quickly evident that the disagreement which had 
plunged the committee into trouble extended to the conven- 
tion. The debate became hot and bitter. In a speech of re- 
markable power, William L. Yancey of Alabama upbraided 
the Northern delegates for truckling to the Free-soil spirit. 
"You acknowledged," he said, "that slavery did not exist by 
the law of nature or by the law of God — that it only existed 
by state law; that it was wrong, but that you were not to 
blame. That was your position, and it was wrong. If you 
had taken the position directly that slavery was right . . . 
you would have triumphed. But you have gone down be- 
fore the enemy so that they have put their foot upon your 
neck; you will go lower and lower still, unless you change 
front and change your tactics. When I was a schoolboy in 
the Northern States, abolitionists were pelted with rotten 
eggs. But now this band of abolitionists has spread and 
grown into three bands — the black Republican, the Free- 
soilers, and squatter sovereignty men — ^all representing the 
common sentiment that slavery is wrong."" Against this 

' M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 48. 


extreme Southern demand that Northern Democrats declare 
slavery right and its extension legitimate, Senator Pugh of 
Ohio vigoronsly protested. "Gentlemen of the South," he 
thundered, "you mistake us — ^you mistake us! we will not 
do if"^ 

The admission of the Softs and the adoption of a rule al- 
lowing individual delegates from uninstructed States to vote 
as they pleased had given the Douglas men an assured major- 
ity, and on the seventh day, when the substitution of the mi- 
nority for the majority report by a vote of 165 to 138 threat- 
ened to culminate in the South's withdrawal, the Douglas 
leaders permitted a division of their report into its substan- 
tive propositions. Under this arrangement, the Cincinnati 
platform was reaflSrmed by a vote of 237 1-2 to 65. The dan- 
ger point had now been reached, and Edward Driggs of 
Brooklyn, scenting the brewing mischief, moved to table the 
balance of the report. Driggs favoured Douglas, but, in com- 
mon with his delegation, he favoured a united party more, 
and could his motion have been carried at that moment with 
a show of unanimity, the subsequent secession might have 
been checked if not wholly avoided. The Douglas leaders, 
however, not yet sufficiently alarmed, thought the withdrawal 
of two or three Southern States might aid rather than hinder 
the nomination of their chief, and on this theory Driggs' 
motion was tabled. But, when Alabama, Arkansas, and 
Mississippi withdrew their votes, and nearly the entire South 
refused to express an opinion on the popular sovereignty 
plank, the extent of the secession suddenly flashed upon Rich- 
ardson, who endeavoured to speak in the din of the wildest 
excitement. Richardson had withdrawn Douglas' name at the 
Cincinnati convention in 1856; and, thinking some way out 
of their present trouble might now be suggested by him, John 
Cochrane, in a voice as musical as it was far-reaching, urged 
the convention to hear one whom he believed brought another 
"peace offering ;" but objection was made, and the roll call 
continued. Richardson's purpose, however, had not escaped 
the vigilant New Yorkers, who now retired for consultation. 
' M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 50. 


The question was, should they strike out the only resolution 
having the slightest significance in the minority report? By 
the time they had decided in the affirmative, and returned to 
the hall, the whole Douglas army was in full retreat, willing, 
finally, to stand solely upon the reaffirmation of the Cincin- 
nati platform, where the Driggs motion would have landed 
them two hdtirs earlier. 

But the Douglas leaders were not yet satisfied. Writhing 
under their forced surrender, Stuart of Michigan took the 
floor, and by an inflammatory speech of the most offensive 
type started the stampede which the surrender of the Doug- 
las platform was intended to avoid. Alabama led off, fol- 
lowed by Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, 
Texas, and Arkansas. Glenn of Mississippi, pale with emo- 
tion, spoke the sentiments of the seceders. "Our going," he 
said, "is not conceived in passion or carried out from mere 
caprice or disappointment. It is the firm resolve of the great 
body we represent. The people of Mississippi ask, what is 
the construction of the platform of 1856? You of the North 
say it means one thing ; we of the South another. They ask 
which is right and which is wrong? The North have main- 
tained their position, but, while doing so, they have not 
acknowledged the rights of the South. We say, go your way 
and we will go ours. But the South leaves not like Hagar, 
driven into the wilderness, friendless and alone, for in sixty 
days you will find a united South standing shoulder to 

This declaration, spoken with piercing emphasis, was re- 
ceived with the most enthusiastic applause that had thus far 
marked the proceedings of the convention. "The South Caro- 
linians cheered long and loud," says an eye-witness, "and the 
tempest of shouts made the circuit of the galleries and the 
floor several times before it subsided. A large number of 
ladies favoured the secessionists with their sweetest smiles 
and with an occasional clapping of hands."* 

' M. Halstead, 'National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 66. 
' Ibid., p. 68. 


All this was telling hard upon the New York delegation.® 
It wanted harmony more than Douglas. Dickinson aspired 
to bring Southern friends to his support,^" while Dean Rich- 
mond was believed secretly to indulge the hope that ulti- 
mately Horatio Seymour might be nominated; and, under 
the plausible and patriotic guise of harmonising the party, 
the delegation had laboured hard to secure a compromise. 
It was shown that Douglas need not be nominated ; that with 
the South present he could not receive a two-thirds major- 
ity ; that with another candidate the Southern States would 
continue in control. It was known that a majority of the 
delegation stood ready even to vote for a conciliatory resolu- 
tion, a mild slave code plank, declaring that all citizens of 
the United States have an equal right to settle, with their 
property, in the territories, and that under the Supreme 
Court's decisions neither rights of person nor property could 
be destroyed or impaired by congressional or territorial leg- 
islation. This was Richmond's last card. In playing it he 
took desperate chances, but he was tired of the strain of 
maintaining the leadership of one faction, and of avoiding a 
total disruption with the other. 

To the Southern extremists, marshalled by Mason and Sli- 
dell, the platform was of secondary importance. They 
wanted to destroy Guthrie, a personal enemy of Slidell, as 
well as to defeat Douglas, and, although it was apparent that 
the latter could not secure a two-thirds majority, it was no 
less evident that the Douglas vote could nominate Guthrie. 
To break up this combination, therefore, the ultras saw no 

° "There was a Fourth of July feeling in Charleston that night — a 
jubilee. The public sentiment was overwhelmingly and enthusias- 
tically in favour of the seceders. The Douglas men looked badly, as 
though they had been troubled with bad dreams. The disruption 
is too serious for them. They find themselves in the position of a 
semi-Free Soil sectional party, and the poor fellows take it hard. 
The ultra South sectionalists accuse them of cleaving unto heresies 
as bad as Sewardism." — M. Halstead, National Political Conventions 
of 1860, p. 76. 

" "Dickinson has ten votes in the New York delegation and no 
more." — New York Tribune's report from Charleston, April 24, 1860. 


way open except to break up the convention on the question 
of a platform. This phase of the case left Richmond abso- 
lutely helpless. The secession of the cotton States might 
weaken Douglas, but it could in nowise aid the chances of a 
compromise candidate, since the latter, if nominated, must 
rely upon a large portion of the Douglas vote. 

But Dean Richmond did not lose sight of his ultimate pur- 
pose. The secession left the convention with 253 out of 304 
votes; and a motion requiring a candidate to obtain two- 
thirds of the original number became a test of devotion to 
Douglas, who hoped to get two-thirds of the remaining votes, 
but who could not, under any circumstances, receive two- 
thirds of the original number. As New York's vote was now 
decisive, it put the responsibility directly upon Richmond. 
It was his opportunity to help or to break Douglas. The 
claim that precedent required two-thirds of the electoral vote 
to nominate was rejected by Stuart as not having the sanc- 
tion of logic. "Two-thirds of the vote given in this conven- 
tion" was the language of the rule, he argued, and it could 
not mean two-thirds of all the votes originally in the conven- 
tion. Gushing admitted that a rigid construction of the 
rule seemed to refer to the votes cast on the ballot in this 
convention, but "the chair is not of the opinion," he said, 
"that the words of the rule apply to the votes cast for the 
candidate, but to two-thirds of all the votes to be cast by the 
convention." This ruling in nowise influenced the solid dele- 
gations of Douglas' devoted followers from Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota; and if 
Richmond had been as loyal in his support, it was reasoned, 
New York would have followed the Northwestern States. 
But Cushing's ruling afforded Richmond a technical peg 
upon which to hang a reason for not deliberately and deci- 
sively cutting off the Empire State from the possibilities 
of a presidential nomination, and, apparently without any 
scruples whatever, he decided that the nominee must receive 
the equivalent of two-thirds of the electoral college." After 

""The drill of the New York delegation and its united vote 


that vote one can no more think of Richmond or the majority 
of his delegation as inspired with devoted loyalty to Douglas. 
One delegate declared that it sounded like clods falling upon 
the Little Giant's coffin.i= 

Little enthusiasm developed over the naming of candidates. 
Six were placed in nomination — Douglas of Illinois, Guthrie 
of Kentucky, Hunter of Virginia, Andrew Johnson of Ten- 
nessee, Lane of Oregon, and Dickinson of New York. George 
W. Patrick of California named Dickinson, and on the first 
ballot he received two votes from Pennsylvania, one from 
Virginia, and four from California, while New York cast its 
thirty-five votes for Dougras with as much eclat as if it had 
not just made his nomination absolutely impossible.^' The 
result gave Douglas 145 1-2 to 107 1-2 for all others, with 202 
necessary to a choice. On the thirty-third ballot, Douglas, 
amidst some enthusiasm, reached 152 1-2 votes, equivalent to 
a majority of the electoral college ; but, as the balloting pro- 
ceeded, it became manifest that this was his limit, and on 
the ninth day motions to adjourn to New York or Baltimore 
in June became frequent. The fifty-seventh ballot, the last of 
the session, gave Douglas 151 1-2, Guthrie 65 1-2, Dickinson 
4, and all others 31. Dickinson had flickered between half 
a vote and sixteen, with an average of five. Never perhaps 
in the history of political conventions did an ambitious can- 
didate keep so far from the goal of success. 

It was now apparent that the convention could not longer 
survive. The listless delegates, the absence of enthusiasm, 
and the uncrowded galleries, showed that all hope of a nomi- 
nation was abandoned, especially since the friends of Doug- 
las, who could prevent the selection of another, declared that 
the Illinoisan would not withdraw under any contingency. 

created a murmur of applause at its steady and commanding' front." 
—New York Tribune, June 19, 1860. i 

^' M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 85. 

" "After the vote of New York had decided that it was impossible 
to nominate Douglas, it proceeded, the roll of States being called, 
to vote for him as demurely as if it meant it." — M. Halstead, 
National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 84. 


It is dreary reading, the record of the last three days. If any 
further evidence were needed to show the utter collapse of 
the dwindling, discouraged convention, the dejected, despair- 
ing appearance of Richardson, until now supported by a 
bright heroism and cheery good humour, would have fur- 
nished it. Accordingly, on the tenth day of the session, it 
was agreed ,to reassemble at Baltimore on Monday, June 18. 
Meantime the seceders had formed themselves into a conven- 
tion, adopted the platform recently reported by the majority, 
and adjourned to meet at Richmond on the same day. 

Bitter thoughts filled the home-going delegates. Douglas' 
Northwestern friends talked rancorously of the South; 
while, in their bitterness, Yancey and his followers exulted in 
the defeat of the Illinois Senator. "Men will be cutting one 
another's throats in a little while," said Alexander H. 
Stephens. "In less than twelve months we shall be in war, 
and that the bloodiest in history. Men seem to be utterly 
blinded to the future."^* 

"Do you not think matters may be adjusted at Baltimore?" 
asked R. M. Johnston. "Not the slightest chance of it," was 
the reply. "The party is split forever. Douglas will not retire 
from the stand he has taken. The only hope was at Charles- 
ton. If the party would be satisfied with the Cincinnati 
platform and would cordially nominate Douglas, we should 
carry the election ; but I repeat to you that is impossible."^' 
Between the conventions the controversy moved to the 
floor of the United States Senate. "We claim protection for 
slavery in the territories," said Jefferson Davis, "first, be- 
cause it is our right ; secondly, because it is the duty of the 
general government."^* In replying to Davis several days 
later, Douglas said : "My name never would have been pre- 
sented at Charleston except for the attempt to proscribe me 
as a heretic, too unsound to be the chairman of a committee 
in this body, where I have held a seat for so many years 
without a suspicion resting on my political fidelity. I was 

"James T. Khodes, History of the United States, Vol. 2, p. 453. 
" IMd., p. 455. " Ibid., p. 453. 


forced to allow my name to go there in self-defence; and I 
will now say that had any gentleman, friend or foe, received 
a majority of that convention over me the lightning would 
have carried a message withdrawing my name."^^ 

A few days afterward Davis referred to the matter again. 
"I have a declining respect for platforms," he said. "I would 
sooner have an honest man on any sort of a rickety plat- 
form you could construct than to have a man I did not trust 
on the best platform which could be made." This stung Doug- 
las. "If the platform is not a matter of much consequence," 
he demanded, "why press that question to the disruption of 
the party ? Why did you not tell us in the beginning of this 
debate that the whole fight was against the man and not upon 
the platform ?"'« 

These personalities served to deepen the exasperation of 
the sections. The real strain was to come, and there was 
great need that cool heads and impersonal argument should 
prevail over misrepresentation and passion. But the coming 
event threw its shadow before it. 

" James F. Bhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 2, p. 455. 
"Ibid., p. 456. 




The Republican national convention met at Chicago on 
May 16. It was the prototype of the modern convention. In 
1856, an ordinary hall in Philadelphia, with a seating ca- 
pacity of two thousand, sufficed to accommodate delegates 
and spectators, but in 1860 the large building, called a "wig- 
wam," specially erected for the occasion and capable of hold- 
ing ten thousand, could not receive one-half the people seek- 
ing admission, while marching clubs, bands of music, and 
spacious headquarters for state delegations, marked the new 
order of things. As usual in later years. New York made an 
imposing demonstration. The friends of Seward took an 
entire hotel, and an organised, well-drilled body of men from 
New York City, under the lead of Tom Hyer, a noted pugilist, 
headed by a gaily uniformed band, paraded the streets- 
amidst admiring crowds. For the first time, too, oflBce- 
seekers were present in force at a Republican convention; 
and, to show their devotion, they packed hotel corridors 
and the convention hall itself with bodies of men who vocifer- 
ously cheered every mention of their candidate's name. Such 
tactics are well understood and expected nowadays, but in 
1860 they were unique. 

The convention, consisting of 466 delegates, represented 
one southern, five border, and eighteen free States. "As long 
as conventions shall be held," wrote Horace Greeley, "I be- 
lieve no abler, wiser, more unselfish body of delegates will 
ever be assembled than that which met at Chicago."* Gov- 

' New York Tribune, June 2, 1860. 


ernor Morgan, as chairman of the Republican national com- 
mittee, called the convention to order, presenting David Wil- 
mot, author of the famous proviso, for temporary chairman. 
George Ashmun of Massachusetts, the favourite friend of 
A^'ebster, became permanent president. The platform, 
adopted by a unanimous vote on the second day, denounced 
the Harper's Ferry invasion "as among the gravest of 
crimes ;" declared the doctrine of popular sovereignty ''a de- 
ception and fraud;" condemned the attempt of President 
Buchanan to force the Lecompton Constitution upon Kan- 
sas ; denied "the authority of Congress, of a territorial legis- 
lature, or of an individual to give legal existence to slavery in 
any territory;" demanded a liberal homestead law; and fa- 
voured a tariff "to encourage the development of the indus- 
trial interests of the whole country." The significant silence 
as to personal liberty bills, the Dred Scott decision, the fu- 
gitive slave law, and the abolition of slavery in the District 
of Columbia, evidenced the handiwork of practical men. 

Only one incident disclosed the enthusiasm of delegates 
for the doctrine which affirms the equality and defines the 
rights of man. Joshua R. Giddings sought to incorporate 
the sentiment that "all men are created free and equal," but 
the convention declined to accept it until the eloquence of 
George William Curtis carried it amidst deafening applause. 
It was not an easy triumph. Party leaders had preserved the 
platform from radical utterances; and, with one disapprov- 
ing yell, the convention tabled the Giddings amendment. In- 
stantly Curtis renewed the motion ; and when it drowned his 
voice, he stood with folded arms and waited. At last, the 
chairman's gavel gave him another chance. In the calm, his 
musical voice, in tones that penetrated and thrilled, begged 
the representatives of the party of freedom "to think well 
before, upon the free prairies of the West, in the summer of 
1860, you dare to shrink from repeating the \^ords of the 
great men of 17T6."^ The audience, stirred by an unwonted 
emotion, applauded the sentiment, and then adopted the 
^ M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 137. 


amendment with a shout more unanimous than had been the 
vote of disapproval. 

The selection of a candidate for President occupied the 
third day. Friends of Seward who thronged the city exhib- 
ited absolute confidence.^ They represented not only the dis- 
cipline of the machine, with its well-drilled cohorts, called 
the "irrepressibles," and its impressive marching clubs, gay 
with banners and badges, but the ablest leaders on the floor 
of the convention. And back of all, stood Thurlow Weed, the 
matchless manager, whose adroitness and wisdom had been 
crowned with success for a whole generation. "He is one of 
the most remarkable men of our time," wrote Samuel Bowles, 
in the preceding February. "He is cool, calculating, a man 
of expedients, who boasts that for thirty years he had not in 
political affairs let his heart outweigh his judgment." Gov- 
ernor Edwin D. Morgan and Henry J. Raymond were his 
lieutenants, William M. Evarts, his floor manager, and a 
score of men whose names were soon to become famous acted 
as his assistants. The brilliant rhetoric of George William 
Curtis, when insisting upon an indorsement of the Declara- 
tion of Independence, gave the opposition a taste of their 

Seward, confident of the nomination, had sailed for Europe 
in May, 1859, in a happy frame of mind. The only serious op- 
position had come from the Tribune and from the Keystone 
State; but on the eve of his departure Simon Cameron as- 
sured him of Pennsylvania, and Greeley, apparently recon- 
ciled, had dined with him at the Astor House. "The sky is 
bright, and the waters are calm," was the farewell to his 

' "Mr. Seward seemed to be certain of receiving' the nomination 
at Chicago. He felt that it belonged to him. His flatterers had 
encouraged him in the error that he was the sole creator of the 
Republican party." — H. B. Stanton, Random. Recollections, p. 214. "I 
Tiear of so many fickle and timid friends as almost to make me sorry 
that I have ever attempted to organise a party to save my coun- 
try." Letter of W. H. Seward to his wife. May 2, I860.— F. W. 
Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 448. 


wife.* After his return there came an occasional shadow. 
"I hear of so many fickle and timid friends," he wrote ;° yet 
he had confidence in Greeley, who, while calling with Weed, 
exhibited such friendly interest that Seward afterward re- 
sented the suggestion of his disloyalty/ On reaching Au- 
burn to await the action of the convention, his confidence of 
success found expression in the belief that he would not 
again return to Congress during that session. As the work 
of the convention progressed his friends became more san- 
guine. The solid delegations of New York, Michigan, Wis- 
consin, Minnesota, California, and Kansas, supplemented by 
the expected votes of New England and other States on a 
second roll call, made the nomination certain. Edward Bates 
had Missouri, Delaware, and Oregon, but their votes barely 
equalled one-half of New York's; Lincoln was positively sure 
of only Illinois, and several of its delegates preferred Sew- 
ard ; Chase had failed to secure the united support of Ohio, 
and Dayton in New Jersey was without hope. Cameron held 
Pennsylvania in reversion for the New York Senator. So 

' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 360. 

'ma., p. 448. 

' "Mr. Julius Wood of Columbus, 0., an old and true friend of Mr. 
Weed, met Jlr. Seward in Washington, and reiterated his fears in 
connection with the accumulation of candidates. 'Mr. Lincoln was 
brought to New York to divide your strength,' he said. But Mr. 
Seward was not disconcerted by these warnings. Less than a fort- 
night afterwards Mr. Wood was at the Astor House, where he again 
met Mr. Weed and Mr. Seward. Sunday afternoon Mr. Greeley 
visited the hotel and passing through one of the corridors met Mr. 
Wood, with whom he began conversation. 'We shan't nominate 
Seward,' said Mr. Greeley, 'we'll take some more conservative man, 
like Pitt Fessenden or Bates.' Immediately afterwards Mr. Wood 
went to Mr. Seward's room. 'Greeley has just been here with 
Weed,' said Mr. Seward. 'Weed brought him up here. You were 
wrong in what you said to me at Washington about Greeley; he is 
all right.' 'No, I was not wrong,' insisted Mr. tVood. 'Greeley 
is cheating you. He will go to Chicago and work against you.' At 
this Mr. Seward smiled. 'My dear Wood,' said he, 'your zeal some- 
times gets a little the better of your judgment,' " — Thurlow Weed 
Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 269. 


hopeless did the success of the opposition appear at midnight 
of the second day, that Greeley telegraphed the Tribune pre- 
dicting Seward's nomination, and the "irrepressibles" antici- 
pated victory in three hundred bottles of champagne. As late 
as the morning of the third day, the confidence of the Seward 
managers impelled them to ask whom the opposition pre- 
ferred for Vfce President. 

But opponents had been industriously at work. They 
found that Republicans of Know-Nothing antecedents, espe- 
cially in Pennsylvania, still disliked Seward's opposition to 
their Order, and that conservative Republicans recoiled from 
his doctrine of the higher law and the irrepressible conflict. 
Upon this broad foundation of unrest, the opposition adroitly 
builded, poisoning the minds of unsettled delegates with 
stories of his political methods and too close association with 
Thurlow Weed. No one questioned Seward's personal in- 
tegrity; but the distrust of the political boss existed then 
as much as now, and his methods were no less objectionable. 
"The misconstruction put on his phrase 'the irrepressible 
conflict between freedom and slavery' has, I think, damaged 
him a good deal," wrote William Cullen Bryant, "and in this 
city there is one thing which has damaged him still more. I 
mean the project of Thurlow Weed to give charters for a set 
of city railways, for which those who receive them are to fur- 
nish a fund of from four to six hundred thousand dollars, to 
be expended for the Republican cause in the next presidential 
election."^ Such a scheme would be rebuked even in this day 
of trust and corporation giving. People resented the trans- 
fer to Washington of the peculiar state of things at Albany, 
and when James S. Pike wrote of Seward's close connection 
with men who schemed for public grants, it recalled his belief 
in the adage that "Money makes the mare go." Allusion to 
Seward's "bad associates," as Bryant called them, and to the 
connection between "Seward stock" and "New York street 
railroads" had become frequent in the correspondence of 
leading men, and now, when delegates could talk face to face 
'Parke Godwin, Life of William Cullen Bryant, Vol. 2, p. 137. 


in the confidence of the party council chamber, these accusa- 
tions made a profound impression. The presence of Tom 
Hyer and his rough marchers did not tend to eliminate these 
moral objections. "If you do not nominate Seward, where 
will you get your money?" was their stock argument.* 

Horace Greeley, sitting as a delegate from Oregon, stayed 
with the friends of Bates and Lincoln at the Tremont Hotel. 
The announcement startled the New Yorkers. He had vis- 
ited Weed at Albany on his way to Chicago, leaving the im- 
pression that he would support Seward,* but once in the con- 
vention city his disaffection became quickly known. Of all 
the members of the convention none attracted more attention, 
or had greater influence with the New England and Western 
delegates. His peculiar head and dress quickly identified 
him as he passed through the hotel corridors from delegation 
to delegation, and whenever he stopped to speak, an eager 
•crowd of listeners heard his reasons why Seward could not 
<:arry the doubtful States. He marshalled all the facts and 
forgot no accusing rumour. His remarkable letter of 1854, 
dissolving the firm of Weed, Seward, and Greeley, had not 
then been published, leaving him in the position of a patriot 
and prophet who opposed the Senator because he sincerely 
believed him a weak candidate. "If we have ever demurred 

' Horace Greeley, New York Tribune, May 22, 1860. 

■ "At this time there was friendly intercourse between Mr. 
Greeley and Mr. Weed, nor did anybody suppose that Mr. Greeley 
was not on good terms with Governor Seward. He had, indeed, in 
1854, written to Mr. Seward a remarkable letter, 'dissolving the 
firm of Seward, Weed & Greeley,' but Mr. Wefed had never seen such 
a letter, nor did Mr. Greeley appear to remember its existence. Mr. 
Weed and Mr. Greeley met frequently in New York, not with all 
of the old cordiality, perhaps, but still they had by no means quar- 
relled. Mr. Greeley wrote often to Mr. Weed, in the old way, and 
he and his family were visitors at Mr. Weed's house. Indeed — 
though that seems impossible — Mr. Greeley stopped at Mr. Weed's 
house, in Albany, on his way West, before the Chicago convention, 
and made a friendly visit of a day or so, leaving the impression that 
he was going to support Mr. Seward when he reached Chicago." — 
Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 268. 


to his nomination," he said in the Tribune of April 23, in re- 
ply to the Times' charge of hostility, "it has been on the 
ground of his too near approximation in principle and senti- 
ment to our standard to be a safe candidate just yet. We joy- 
fully believe that the country is acquiring a just and ade- 
quate conception of the malign influence exerted by the slave 
power upon its character, its reputation, its treatment of its 
neighbour, and all its great moral and material interests. 
In a few years more we believe it will be ready to elect as its 
President a man who not only sees but proclaims the whole 
truth in this respect — in short, such a man as Governor Sew- 
ard. We have certainly doubted its being yet so far ad- 
vanced in its political education as to be ready to choose for 
President one who looks the slave oligarchy square in the 
eye and says, 'Know me as your enemy.' " 

Greeley favoured Bates of Missouri, but was ready to sup- 
port anybody to beat Seward. Bryant, disliking what he 
called the "pliant politics" of the New York Senator, had 
been disposed to favour Chase until the Cooper Institute 
speech. Lincoln left a similar trail of friends through New 
England. The Illinoisan's title of "Honest Old Abe," given, 
him by his neighbours, contrasted favourably with the whis- 
pered reports of "bad associates" and the "New York City 
railroad scheme." Gradually, even the radical element in the 
unpledged delegations began questioning the advisability of 
the New Yorker's selection, and when, on the night preceding 
the nomination, Andrew Curtin of Pennsylvania and Henry 
S. Lane^" of Indiana, candidates for governor in their respec- 
tive States, whose defeat in October would probably bring 

" "I was with my husband In Chicag-o, and may tell you now, as 
most of the actors have joined the 'silent majority,' what no living- 
person knows, that Thurlow Weed, in his anxiety for the success of 
Seward, took Mr. Lane out one evening and pleaded with him to> 
lead the Indiana deleg-ation over to Seward, saying they would send 
enough money from New York to insure his election for governor,, 
and carry the State later for the New York candidate." Letter of 
Mrs. Henry S. Lane, September 16, 1891. — Alex. K. McClure, Livcoliv 
and Men of War Times, p. 25, note. 


defeat in November, declared that Seward's selection would 
cost them their election, the opposition occupied good van- 
tage ground. David Davis, the Illinois manager for Lincoln, 
against the positive instructions of his principal, strength- 
ened these declarations by promising to locate Simon Cam- 
eron and Caleb B. Smith in the Cabinet. The next morning, 
however, the anti- Seward forces entered the convention with- 
out having concentrated upon a candidate. Lincoln had won 
Indiana, but Pennsylvania and Ohio were divided ; New Jer- 
sey stood for Dayton; Bates still controlled Missouri, Dela- 
ware, and Oregon. 

William M. Evarts presented Seward's name amidst loud 
applause. But at the mention of Lincoln's the vigour of the 
cheers surprised the delegates. The Illinois managers had 
cunningly filled the desirable seats with their shouters, ex- 
cluding Tom Hyer and his marchers, who arrived too late, so 
that, although the applause for Seward was "frantic, shrill, 
and wild," says one correspondent, the cheers for Lincoln 
were "louder and more terrible."^^ Whether this had the in- 
fluence ascribed to it at the time by Henry J. Eaymond and 
others has been seriously questioned, but it undoubtedly 
aided in fixing the wavering delegates, and in encouraging 
the friends of other candidates to rally about the Lincoln 

The first roll call proved a disappointment to Seward. 
Though the pledged States were in line. New England fell 
short, Pennsylvania showed indifference, and Virginia cre- 
ated a profound surprise. Nevertheless, the confidence of the 
Seward forces remained unshaken. Of the 465 votes, Seward 
had 173 1-2, Lincoln 102, Cameron 50 1-2, Chase 49,' and 
Bates 48, with 42 for seven others ; necessary to a choice, 233. 
On the second ballot Seward gained four votes from New 
Jersey, two each from Texas and Kentucky, and one each 
from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska — making 
a total of 184 1-2. Lincoln moved up to 133. The action of 
Ohio in giving fourteen votes to Lincoln had been no less 
" M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 145. 


disappointing to the Seward managers than the transfer of 
Vermont's vote to the same column; but, before they could 
recover from this shock, Cameron was withdrawn and 48 
votes from Pennsylvania carried Lincoln's total to 181. 

The announcement of this change brought the convention 
to its feet amid scenes of wild excitement. Seward's forces 
endeavoured' to avert the danger, but the arguments of a 
week were bearing fruit. As the third roll call proceeded, the 
scattering votes turned to Lincoln. Seward lost four from 
Khode Island and half a vote from Pennsylvania, giving him 
180, Lincoln 231 1-2, Chase 24 1-2, Bates 22, and 7 for three 
others. At this moment, an Ohio delegate authorised a 
change of four votes from Chase to Lincoln, and instantly 
one hundred guns, fired from the top of an adjoining build- 
ing, announced the nomination of "Honest Old Abe." In a 
short speech of rare felicity and great strength, William M. 
Evarts moved to make the nomination unanimous. 

The New York delegation, stunned by the result, declined 
the honour of naming a candidate for Vice President ; and, 
on reassembling in the afternoon, the convention nominated 
Hannibal Hamlin of Maine. As Evarts was leaving the wig- 
wam he remarked, with characteristic humour : "Well, Cur- 
tis, at least we have saved the Declaration of Independence !" 

Three days after the nomination Greeley wrote James S. 
Pike : "Massachusetts was right in Weed's hands, contrary 
to all reasonable expectation. It was all we could do to hold 
Vermont by the most desperate exertions; and I at some 
times despaired of it. The rest of New England was pretty 
sound, but part of New Jersey was somehow inclined to sin 
against the light and knowledge. If you had seen the Penn- 
sylvania delegation, and known how much money Weed had 
in hand, you would not have believed we could do so well as 
we did. Give Curtin thanks for that. Ohio looked very bad, 
yet turned out well, and Virginia had been regularly sold 
out ; but the seller could not deliver. W^e had to rain red-hot 
bolts on them, however, to keep the majority from going for 
Seward, who got eight votes here as it was. Indiana was our 


right bower, and Missouri above praise. It was a fearful 
week, sucb as I hope and trust I shall never see repeated."^^ 
That Greeley received credit for all he did is evidenced by a 
letter from John D. Defrees, then a leading politician of In- 
diana, addressed to Schuyler Colfax. "Greeley slaughtered 
Seward and saved the party," he wrote. "He deserves the 
praises of all men and gets them now. Wherever he goes he 
is greeted with cheers."'^ 

The profound sorrow of Seward's friends resembled the 
distress of Henry Clay's supporters in 1840. It was not cha- 
grin ; it was not the selfish fear that considers the loss of of- 
fice or spoils ; it was not discouragement or despair. Appre- 
hensions for the future of the party and the country there 
may have been, but their grief found its fountain-head in the 
feeling that "his fidelity to the country, the Constitution and 
the laws," as Evarts put it ; "his fidelity to the party, and the 
principle that the majority govern; his interest in the ad- 
vancement of our party to victory, that our country may 
rise to its true glory,"" had led to his sacrifice solely for as- 
sumed availability. The belief obtained that a large majority 
of the delegates preferred him, and that had the convention 
met elsewhere he would probably have been successful. In 
his Life of Lincoln, Alex. K. McClure of Pennsylvania, an 
anti-Seward delegate, says that "of the two hundred and 
thirty -one men who voted for Lincoln on the third and last 
ballot, not less than one hundred of them voted reluctantly 
against the candidate of their choice."^^ 

At Auburn a funeral gloom settled upon the town.^® Ad- 

" James S. Pike, First Blows of the Civil War, p. 519. 

"Hollister, Life of Colfax, p. 148. 

"William M. Evarts' speech making Lincoln's nomination unani- 
mous. F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 451. 

" Alex. K. McClure, Life of Lincoln, p. 171. 

" "On the day the convention was to ballot for a candidate, 
Cayuga County poured itself into Auburn. The streets were full, 
and Mr. Seward's house and grounds overflowed with his admirers. 
Flags were ready to be raised and a loaded cannon was placed at 
the gate whose pillars bore up two guardian lions. Arrangements 
had been perfected for the receipt of intelligence. At Mr. Seward's 

1860] GLOOM AT AUBUEN 291 

miration for Seward's great ability, and a just pride in the 
exalted position he occupied in his party and before the 
country, had long ago displaced the local spirit that refused 
him a seat in the constitutional convention of 1846; and 
after the defeat his fellow townsmen could not be comforted. 
Sincere sorrow filled their hearts. But Seward's bearing was 
heroic. When told that no Republican could be found to 
write a paragraph for the evening paper announcing and ap- 
proving the nominations, he quickly penned a dozen lines 
eulogistic of the convention and its work. To Weed, who 
shed bitter tears, he wrote consolingly. "I wish I were sure 
that your sense of disappointment is as light as my own," 
he said. "It ought to be equally so, if we have been equally 
thoughtful and zealous for friends, party, and country. I 
know not what has been left undone that could have been 
done, or done that ought to be regretted."" During the week 
many friends from distant parts of the State called upon 
him, "not to console," as they expressed it, "but to be con- 
soled." His cheerful demeanour under a disappointment so 
overwhelming to everybody else excited the inquiry how he 
could exhibit such control. His reply was characteristic. 
"For twenty years," he said, "I have been breasting a daily 

rig-ht hand, just -within the porch, stood his trusty henchman^ 
Christopher Morgan. The rider of a galloping steed dashed through 
the crowd with a telegram and handed it to Seward, who passed it 
to Morgan. For Seward, it read, 173%; for Lincoln, 102. Morgan, 
repeated it to the multitude, who cheered vehemently. Then came 
the tidings of the second ballot: For Seward, ISiy^ — for Lincoln, 
181. 'I shall be nominated on the next ballot,' said Seward, and 
the throng in the house applauded, and those on the lawn and in 
the street echoed the cheers. The next messenger lashed his horse 
into a run. The telegram read, 'Lincoln nominated. T. W.' Seward 
turned as pale as ashes. The sad tidings crept through the vast 
concourse. The iiags were furled, the cannon was rolled away, and 
Cayuga County went home with a clouded brow. Mr. Seward re- 
tired to rest at a late hour, and the night breeze in the tall trees 
sighed a requiem over the blighted hopes of New York's eminent 
son." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, pp. 215-16. 
" F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 453. 


storm of censure. Now, all the world seems disposed to speak 
kindlj' of me. In that pile of papers, Republican and Demo- 
ocratic, you will find hardly one unkind word. When I went 
to market this morning I confess I was unprepared for so 
much real grief as I heard expressed at every corner."^^ 

But deep in his heart despondency reigned supreme. "The 
reappearance at Washington in the character of a leader de- 
posed by his own party, in the hour of organisation for de- 
cisive battle, thank God is past — and so the last of the humil- 
iations has been endured," he wrote his wife. "Preston King 
met me at the depot and conveyed me to my home. It 
seemed sad and mournful. Dr. Nott's benevolent face, Lord 
Napier's complacent one, Jefferson's benignant one, and 
Lady Napier's loving one, seemed all like pictures of the dead. 
Even 'Napoleon at Fontainebleau' seemed more frightfully 
desolate than ever. At the Capitol the scene was entirely 
changed from my entrance into the chamber last winter. 
Cameron greeted me kindly; Wilkinson of Minnesota, and 
Sumner cordially and manfully. Other Republican senators 
came to me, but in a manner that showed a consciousness of 
embarrassment, which made the courtesy a conventional one ; 
only Wilson came half a dozen times, and sat down by me. 
Mason, Gwin, Davis, and most of the Democrats, came to 
me with frank, open, sympathising words, thus showing that 
their past prejudices had been buried in the victory they had 
achieved over me. Good men came through the day to see 
me, and also this morning. Their eyes fill with tears, and 
they become speechless as they speak of what they call 'in- 
gratitude.' They console themselves with the vain hope of a 
day of 'vindication,' and my letters all talk of the same thing. 
But they awaken no response in my heart. I have not shrunk 
from any flery trial prepared for me by the enemies of my 
cause. But I shall not hold myself bound to try, a second 
time, the magnanimity of its friends." ^^ To Weed he wrote: 
^'Private life, as soon as I can reach it without grieving or 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Sewurd, Vol. 2, p. 453. 
"/6i(J., p. 454. 


embarrassing my friends, will be welcome to me. It will 
come the 4th of next March in my case, and I am not 

Defeat was a severe blow to Seward. For the moment he 
seemed well-nigh friendless. The letter to his wife after he 
reached Washington was a threnody. He was firmly con- 
vinced that he was a much injured man, and his attitude was 
that of the martyr supported by the serenity of the saint. 
But to the world he bore himself with the courage and the 
dignity that belong to one whose supremacy is due to superi- 
ority of talents. The country could not know that he was 
to become a secretary of state of whom the civilised world 
•would take notice ; but one of Seward's prescience must have 
felt well satisfied in his own mind, even when telling Weed 
how "welcome" private life would be, that, although he was 
not to become President, he was at the opening of a greater 
political career. 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 270. 



The recess between the Charleston and Baltimore conven- 
tions did not allay hostilities. Jefferson Davis' criticism and 
Douglas' tart retorts transferred the quarrel to the floor of 
the United States Senate, and by the time the delegates had 
reassembled at Baltimore on June 18, 1860, the factions 
exhibited greater exasperation than had been shown at 
Charleston. Yet the Douglas men seemed certain of success. 
Dean Richmond, it was said, had been engaged in private 
consultation with Douglas and his friends, pledging himself 
to stand by them to the last. On the other hand, rumours of 
a negotiation in which the Southerners and the Administra- 
tion at Washington had offered the New Yorkers their whole 
strength for any man the Empire State might name other 
than Douglas and Guthrie, found ready belief among the 
Northwestern delegates. It was surmised, too, that the defeat 
of Seward at Chicago had strengthened the chances of Hora- 
tio Seymour, on the ground that the disappointed and dis- 
contented Seward Republicans would allow him to carry the 
State. Whatever truth there may have been in these reports, 
all admitted that the New York delegation had in its hands 
the destiny of the convention, if not that of the party itself.^ 

^ "There was no question that the New York delegation had the 
fate of the convention in its keeping; and while it was understood 
that the strength of Douglas in the delegation had been increased 
during the recess by the Fowler defalcation (Fowler's substitute 
being reported a Douglas man) and by the appearance of regular 
delegates whose alternates had been against Douglas at Charleston, 
it was obvious that the action of the politicians of New York could 
not be counted upon in any direction with confidence. Rumours 



The apparent breaking point at Charleston was the adop- 
tion of a platform ; at Baltimore it was the readmission of se- 
ceding delegates. Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas 
presented their original delegations, who sought immediate 
admission; but a resolution, introduced by Sanford E. 
Church of New York, referred them to the committee on 
credentials, Vith the understanding that persons accepting 
seats were bound in honour to abide the action of the con- 
vention. The Douglas men, greeting this resolution with tre- 
mendous applause, proposed driving it through without de- 
bate ; but New York hesitated to order the previous question. 
Then it asked permission to withdraw for consultation, and 
when it finally voted in the negative, deeming it unwise to 
stifle debate, it revealed the fact that its action was decisive 
on all questions. 

An amendment to the Church resolution proposed sending 
only contested seats to the credentials committee, without 
conditions as to loyalty, and over this joinder of issues some 
very remarkable speeches disclosed malignant bitterness 
rather than choice rhetoric. Richardson, still the recognised 
spokesman of Douglas, received marked attention as he ar- 
gued boldly that the amendment admitted delegates not sent 
there, and decided a controversy without a hearing. "I do 
not propose," he said, "to sit side by side with delegates who 
do not represent the people : who are not bound by anything, 
when I am bound by everything. We are not so hard driven 
yet as to be compelled to elect delegates from States that 
do not choose to send any here."^ 

Russell of Virginia responded, declaring that his State 

circulated that a negotiation had been carried on in Washington by 
the New Yorkers with the South, to sell out Douglas, the South- 
erners and the Administration offering their whole strength to any 
man New York might name, provided that State would slaughter 
Douglas. On the other hand, it appeared that Dean Kichmond, the 
principal manager of the New Yorkers, had pledged himself, as 
solemnly as a politician could do, to stand by the cause of Douglas to 
the last." — M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 159. 
' M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 167. 


intended, in the interest of fair play, to cling to the Democ- 
racy of the South. "If we are to be constrained to silence," 
he vociferated, "I beg gentlemen to consider the silence of 
Virginia ominous. If we are not gentlemen — if we are such 
knaves that we cannot trust one another — we had better scat- 
ter at once, and cease to make any effort to bind each other."* 
Speaking on similar lines, Ewing of Tennessee asked what 
was meant. ''Have you no enemy in front? Have you any 
States to spare? We are pursued by a remorseless enemy, 
and yet from all quarters of this convention come exclama- 
tions of bitterness and words that burn, with a view to open 
the breach in our ranks wider and wider, until at last, Cur- 
tius-like, we will be compelled to leap into it to close it up." 
But it remained for Montgomery of Pennsylvania, in spite 
of Cochrane's conciliatory words, to raise the political atmos- 
phere to the temperature at Charleston just before the se- 
cession. "For the first time in the history of the Democratic 
party," he said, "a number of delegations of sovereign States, 
by a solemn instrument in writing, resigned their places upon 
the floor of the convention. They went out with a protest, 
not against a candidate, but against the principles of a party, 
declaring they did not hold and would not support them. 
And not only that, but they called a hostile convention, and 
sat side by side with us, deliberating upon a candidate 
and the adoption of a platform. Principles hostile to ours 
were asserted and a nomination hostile to ours was threat- 
ened. Our convention was compelled to adjourn in order to 
have these sovereign States represented. What became of 
the gentlemen who seceded? They adjourned to meet at 
Richmond. Now they seek to come back and sit upon this 
floor with us, and to-day they threaten us if we do not come 
to their terms. God knows I love the star spangled banner 
of my country, and it is because I love the Uniop that I am 
determined that any man who arrays himself in hostility to 
it shall not, with my consent, take a seat in this convention. 
I am opposed to secession either from this Union or from the 
'M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 168. 


Democratic convention, and when men declare the principles 
of the party are not their principles, and that they will 
neither support them nor stay in a convention that promul- 
gates them, then I say it is high time, if they ask to come 
back, that they shall declare they have changed their 

This swung the door of vituperative debate wide open, and 
after an adjournment had closed it in the hall, the crowds 
continued it in the street. At midnight, while Yancey made 
one of his silver-toned speeches, which appears, by all ac- 
counts, to have been a piece of genuine eloquence, the friends 
of Douglas, on the opposite side of Monument Square, kept 
the bands playing and crowds cheering. 

When the convention assembled on the second day. Church, 
in the interest of harmony, withdrew the last clause of his 
resolution, and, without a dissenting voice, all contested 
seats went to the committee on credentials. Then the conven- 
tion impatiently waited three days for a report, while the 
night meetings, growing noisier and more arrogant, served to 
increase the bitterness. The Douglasites denounced their op- 
ponents as "disorganisers and disunionists ;" the Southerners 
retorted by calling them "a species of sneaking abolitionists." 
Yancey spoke of them as small men, with selfish aims. "They 
are ostrich-like — ^their head is in the sand of squatter sov- 
ereignty, and they do not know their great, ugly, ragged 
abolition body is exposed." 

On the fourth day, the committee presented two reports, 
the majority, without argument, admitting the contestants — 
the minority, in a remarkably strong document of singular 
skill and great clearness, seating the seceders on the ground 
that their withdrawal was not a resignation and was not so 
considered by the convention. A resignation, it argued, must 
be made to the appointing power. The withdrawing dele- 
gates desired the instruction of their constituencies, who au- 
thorised them in every case except South Carolina to repair 
to Baltimore and endeavour once more to unite their party 

'M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, pp. 168-171. 


and promote harmony and peace in the great cause of their 

This report made a profound impression upon the conven- 
tion, and the motion to substitute it for the majority report 
at once threw New York into confusion. That delegation had 
already decided to sustain the majority, but the views of the 
seceders, so ably and logically presented, had reopened the 
door of debate, and a resolute minority, combining more than 
a proportionate share of the talent and worth of the delega- 
tion, insisted upon further time. After the convention had 
grudgingly taken a recess to accommodate the New Yorkers, 
William H. Ludlow reappeared and apologised for asking 
more time. This created the impression that Richmond's 
delegation, at the last moment, proposed to slaughter Doug- 
las' as it did at Charleston, and the latter's friends, mad- 
dened and disheartened over what they called "New York's 
dishonest and cowardly procrastination," would gladly have 
prevented an adjournment. But the Empire State held the key 
to the situation. Without it Douglas could get nothing and in 
a hopeless sort of way his backers granted Ludlow's request.* 

The situation of the New York delegation was undoubtedly 
most embarrassing. Their admission to the Charleston con- 
vention had depended upon the Douglas vote, but their hope 
of success hinged upon harmony with the cotton States. A 
formidable minority favoured the readmission of the seced- 
•ers and the abandonment of Douglas regardless of their obli- 
gation. This was not the policy of Dean Richmond, who was 

" M. Halstead, National PcHtical Conventions of 1860, p. 185. 

* "The real business transacting- behind the scenes has been the 
squelching of Doug-las, -which is understood to be as good as bar- 
gained for. The South is in due time to concentrate on a candi- 
date — probably Horatio Seymour of our own State — and then Ne-sv 
York is to desert Douglas for her own favourite son. Such is the 
programme as it stood up to last evening." — ^New 't^ork Tribune 
(editorial), June 20, 1860. "There are plenty of rumours, but nothing 
has really form and body unless it be a plan to have Virginia bring 
forward Horatio Seymour, whom New York will then diffidently 
accept in place of Douglas." — IMd. (telegraphic report). 


the pivotal personage. His plan included the union of the 
party by admitting the seceders, and the nomination of Hora- 
tio Seymour with the consent of the Northwest, after render- 
ing the selection of Douglas impossible. It was a brilliant 
programme, but the inexorable demand of the Douglas men 
presented a fatal drawback. Richmond implored and pleaded. 
He knew the hostility of the Douglasites could make Sey- 
mour's nomination impossible, and he knew, also, that a re- 
fusal to admit the seceders would lead to a second secession, 
a second ticket, and a hopelessly divided party. Neverthe- 
less, theDouglas men were remorseless.' EvenDouglas' letter, 
sent Richardson on the third day, and his dispatch to Dean 
Richmond,* received on the fifth day, authorising the with- 
drawal of his name if it could be done without sacrificing 
the principle of non-intervention, did not relieve the situa- 
tion. Rule or ruin was now their motto, as much as it was 
the South's, and between them Richmond's diplomatic resist- 
ance,* which once seemed of iron, became as clay. Neverthe- 

' "The Soft leaders still shiver on the brink of a decision. But 
a new light broke on them yesterday, when they discovered that, 
if they killed Douglas, his friends were able and resolved to kill 
Seymour in turn." — New York Tribune (editorial), June 21. "The 
action of New York is still a subject of great doubt and anxiety. 
As it goes so goes the party and the Union of course." — Ibid, (tele- 
graphic report). 

' "A dispatch from Douglas to Eichmond was sent because a letter 
containing similar suggestions to Richardson had been kept in the 
latter's iKJcket. But Richmond suppressed the dispatch as Richard- 
son had suppressed the letter." — M. Halstead, National Political 
Conventions of 1860, p. 195. "Richardson afterward explained that 
the action of the Southerners had put it out of his power to use 
Douglas' letter." — James F. Rhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 
2, p. 415. 

" "It was asserted in Baltimore and believed in political circles that 
New York offered to reconsider her vote on the Louisiana case, and 
make up the convention out of the original materials, with the 
exception of the Alabama delegation. It could not agree to admit 
Yancey & Co. But the seceders and their friends would not hear 
to any such proposition. They scorned all compromise." — M. Hal- 
stead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 195. "Many were 


less, Richmond's control of the New York delegation re- 
mained unbroken. The minority tried new arguments, 
planned new combinations, and racked their brains for new 
devices, but when Richmond finally gave up the hopeless and 
thankless task of harmonising the Douglasites and seceders, 
a vote of 27 to 43 forced the minority of the delegation into 
submission by the screw of the Syracuse unit rule, and New 
York finally sustained the majority report. 

After this, the convention became the theatre of a dramatic 
event which made it, for the moment, the centre of interest 
to the political world. The majority report seated the Doug- 
las faction from Alabama and Louisiana, and then excluded 
William L. Yancey, a representative seceder, and let in 
Pierre Soule, a representative Douglasite. It is suflScient 
proof of the sensitiveness of the relations between the two 
factions that an expressed preference for one of these men 
should again disrupt the convention, but the moving cause 
was far deeper than the majority's action. Yancey belonged 
to the daring, resolute, and unscrupulous band of men who, 
under the unhappy conditions that threatened their defeat, 
had already decided upon disunion; and, when the conven- 
tion repudiated him, the lesser lights played their part. Vir- 
ginia led a new secession, followed by most of the delegates 
from North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, and 
Maryland, and finally by Caleb Cushing himself, the astute 
presiding officer, whose action anticipated the withdrawal 
of Massachusetts. 

When they were gone, Pierre Soule took the floor and made 
the speech of the convention, fascinating all who saw and 
heard. An eye-witness speaks of his rolling, glittering, eagle 
eye, Napoleonic head and face, sharp voice with a margin 
of French accent, and piercing, intense earnestness of man- 
ner. "I have not been at all discouraged," he said, "by the 

the expedients devised to bring about harmony; but it was to at- 
tempt the impossible. The Southerners were exacting-, the dele- 
gates from the Northwest bold and defiant." — James F. Ehodes, His- 
tory of the United States, Vol. 2, p. 474. 


emotion which has been attempted to be created in this body 
by those who have seceded from it. We from the furthest 
South were prepared ; we had heard the rumours which were 
to be initiatory of the exit which you have witnessed on this 
day, and we knew that conspiracy, which had been brooding 
for months past, would break out on this occasion, and for 
the purposed which are obvious to every member. Sirs, there 
are in political life men who were once honoured by popular 
favour, who consider that the favour has become to them au 
inalienable property, and who cling to it as to something that 
can no longer be wrested from their hands — political fossils 
so much incrusted in office that there is hardly any power that 
can extract them. They saw that the popular voice was al- 
ready manifesting to this glorious nation who was to be her 
next ruler. Instead of bringing a candidate to oppose him ; 
instead of creating issues upon which the choice of the na- 
tion could be enlightened; instead of principles discussed, 
what have we seen? An unrelenting war against the indi- 
vidual presumed to be the favourite of the nation! a war 
waged by an army of unprincipled and unscrupulous politi- 
cians, leagued with a power which could not be exerted on 
their side without disgracing itself and disgracing the na- 
tion." Secession, he declared, meant disunion, "but the peo- 
ple of the South will not respond to the call of the 

The effect of Soule's speech greatly animated and reas- 
sured the friends of Douglas, who now received 173 1-2 of the 
190 1-2 votes cast. Dickinson got half a vote from Virginia, 
and Horatio Seymour one vote from Pennsylvania. At the 
mention of the latter's name, David P. Bissell of Utica 
promptly withdrew it upon the authority of a letter, in which 
Seymour briefly but positively declared that under no cir- 
cumstances could he be a candidate for President or Vice 
President. On the second ballot, Douglas received all the 
votes but thirteen. This was not two-thirds of the original 
vote, but, in spite of the resolution which Dean Richmond 
"M. Halstead, National Political Conventions of 1860, p. 207. 


passed at Charleston, Douglas was declared, amidst great 
enthusiasm, the nominee of the convention, since two-thirds 
of the delegates present had voted for him. Benjamin Fitz- 
patrick, United States senator from Alabama, was then nomi- 
nated for Vice President. When he afterwards declined, the 
national committee appointed Herschel V. Johnson of Geor- 
gia in his place. 

Meantime the Baltimore seceders, Joined by their seceding 
colleagues from Charleston, met elsewhere in the city, 
adopted the Richmond platform, and nominated John C. 
Breckenridge of Kentucky for President, and Joseph Lane 
of Oregon for Vice President. A few days later the Rich- 
mond convention indorsed these nominations. 

After the return of the New York delegation, the gagged 
minority, through the lips of Daniel S. Dickinson, told the 
story of the majority's purpose at Charleston and Baltimore. 
Dickinson was not depressed or abashed by his failure; 
neither was he a man to be rudely snuffed out or bottled up ; 
and, although his speech at the Cooper Institute mass-meet- 
ing, called to ratify the Breckenridge and Lane ticket, re- 
vealed a vision clouded with passion and prejudice, it clearly 
disclosed the minority's estimate of the cardinal object of 
Dean Richmond's majority. "Waiving all questions of the 
merits or demerits of Mr. Douglas as a candidate," he said, his 
silken white hair bringing into greater prominence the lines 
of a handsome face, "his pretensions were pressed upon the 
convention in a tone and temper, and with a dogged and ob- 
stinate persistence, which was well calculated, if it was not 
intended, to break up the convention, or force it into obedi- 
ence to the behests of a combination. The authors of this out- 
rage, who are justly and directly chargeable with it, were the 
ruling majority of the New York delegation. They held the 
balance of power, and madly and selfishly apd corruptly 
■used it for the disruption of the Democratic party in endeav- 
ouring to force it to subserve their infamous schemes. They 
were charged with high responsibilities in a crisis of unusual 
interest in our history, and in an evil moment their leprous 


hands held the destinies of a noble party. They proclaimed 
personally and through their accredited organs that the 
Southern States were entitled to name a candidate, but from 
the moment they entered the convention at Charleston until 
it was finally broken up at Baltimore by their base conduct 
and worse faith, their every act was to oppose any candidate 
who would fie acceptable to those States. 

"Those who controlled the New York delegation through 
the fraudulent process of a unit vote — a rule forced upon a 
large minority to stifle their sentiments — will hereafter be 
known as political gamblers. The Democratic party of New 
York, founded in the spirit of Jefferson, has, in the hands of 
these gamblers, been disgraced by practices which would dis- 
honour a Peter Punk cast-off clothing resort; cheating the 
people of the State, cheating a great and confiding party, 
cheating the convention which admitted them to seats, cheat- 
ing delegations who trusted them, cheating everybody with 
whom they came in contact, and then lamenting from day to 
day, through their accredited organ, that the convention had 
not remained together so that they might finally have cheated 
Douglas. Political gamblers! You have perpetrated your 
last cheat — consummated your last fraud upon the Demo- 
cratic party. Henceforth you will be held and treated as 
political outlaws. There is no fox so crafty but his hide 
finally goes to the hatter."" 

In his political controversies, Dickinson acted on the prin- 
ciple that an opponent is necessarily a blockhead or a scoun- 
drel. But there was little or no truth in his severe arraign- 
ment. Richmond's purpose was plainly to nominate Horatio 
Seymour if it could be done with the consent of the North- 
western States, and his sudden affection for a two-thirds 
rule came from a determination to prolong the convention 
until it yielded consent. At no time did he intend leaving 
Douglas for any one other than Seymour. On the other 
hand, Dickinson had always favoured slavery.^'' Neither 

" New York Triiune, July 19, 1860. 

""The obduracy, the consistency of Mr. Dickinson's Democracy 


the Wilmot Proviso nor the repeal of the Missouri Compro- 
mise disturbed him. What slavery demanded he granted; 
what freedom sought he denounced. His belief that the 
South would support him for a compromise candidate in re- 
turn for his fidelity became an hallucination. It showed 
itself at Cincinnati in 1852 when he antagonised Marcy ; and 
his position in 1860 was even less advantageous. Neverthe- 
less, Dickinson nursed his delusion until the guns at Fort 
Sumter disclosed the real design of Yancey and the men 
in whom he had confided. 

are of the most marked type. Ever since he changed his vote from 
Van Buren to Polk, with such hearty alacrity in the Baltimore 
conTention of 1844, he has promptly yielded to every requisition 
which the Southern Democracy has made upon their Northern allies. 
All along' through the stormy years when the star of the Wilmot 
Proviso was in the ascendant, and when Wright and Dix bowed to 
the gale, and even Marcy and Bronson bent before it, Dickinson, on 
the floor of the Senate, stood erect and immovable." — New York 
Tribune, July 4, 1860. 



It was impossible that the defeat of Seward at Chicago, 
so unexpected, and so far-reaching in its efEect, should be 
encountered without some attempt to fix the responsibility. 
To Thurlow Weed's sorrow^ was added the mortification of 
defeat. He had staked everything upon success, and, al- 
though he doubtless wished to avoid any unseemly demon- 
stration of disappointment, the rankling wound goaded him 
into a desire to relieve himself of any lack of precaution. 
Henry J. Raymond scarcely divided the responsibility of 
management ; but his newspaper, which had spoken for Sew- 
ard, shared in the loss of prestige, while the Triiune, his 
great rival in metropolitan journalism, disclosed between the 
lines of assumed modesty an exultant attitude. 

Greeley had played a very important part in the historic 
convention. The press gave him full credit for his activity, 

^ "Mr. Weed was for a time completely unnerved by the result. He 
even shed tears over the defeat of his old friend." — Thurlow Weed 
Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 271. 

"After the joy of Lincoln's nomination had subsided," wrote 
Leonard Swett of Chicago, "Judge Davis and I called upon Mr. 
Weed. This was the first time either of us had met him. He did 
not talk angrily as to the result, nor did he complain of any one. 
Confessing with much feeling to the great disappointment of his 
life, he said, 'I hoped to make my friend, Mr. Seward, President, 
and I thought I could serve my country in so doing.' He was a 
larger man intellectually than I anticipated, and of finer fibre. 
There was in him an element of gentleness and a large humanity 
which won me, and I was pleased no less than surprised." — Ibid., 
Vol. 2, p. 292. 



and he admitted it in his jubilant letter to Pike; but after 
returning to New York he seemed to think it wise to minimise 
his influence, claiming that the result would have been the 
same had he remained at home. "The fact that the four con- 
spicuous doubtful States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, In- 
diana, and Illinois," he wrote, "unanimously testified that 
they could not be carried for Seward was decisive. Against 
this Malakoff the most brilliant evolutions of political strat- 
egy could not avail. "^ This two-column article, modestly 
concealing his own work, might not have led to an editorial 
war between the three great Republican editors of the State, 
had not Greeley, in the exordium of a speech, published in the 
Tribune of May 23, exceeded the limits of human endurance. 
"The past is dead," he said. "Let the dead past bury it, and 
let the mourners, if they will, go about the streets." 

The exultant sentences exasperated Kaymond, who held 
the opinion which generally obtained among New York Re-, 
publican leaders, that Greeley's persistent hostility was not 
only responsible for Seward's defeat, but that under the 
guise of loyalty to the party's highest interests he had been 
insidious and revengeful, and Raymond believed it needed 
only a bold and loud-spoken accusation against him to fill the 
mind of the public with his guilt. In this spirit he wrote a 
stinging reply. "With the generosity which belongs to his 
nature, and which a feeling not unlike remorse may have 
stimulated into unwonted activity," said this American 
Junius, "Mr. Greeley awards to others the credit which be- 
longs transcendently to himself. The main work of the Chi- 
cago convention was the defeat of Governor Seward, and in 
that endeavour Mr. Greeley laboured harder, and did ten- 
fold more, than the whole family of Blairs, together with all 
the gubernatorial candidates, to whom he modestly hands 
over the honours of the effective campaign. Mr. Greeley had 
special qualifications, as well as a special love, lor this task. 
For twenty years he had been sustaining the political princi- 
ples and vindicating the political conduct of Mr. Seward 
'New York Tribune, May 22, 18G0. 


through the columns of the most influential political news- 
paper in the country. His voice was potential precisely where 
Governor Seward was strongest, because it was supposed to 
be that of a friend, strong in his personal attachment and de- 
votion, and driven into opposition on this occasion solely by 
the despairing conviction that the welfare of the country and 
the triumph of the Kepublican cause demanded the sacrifice. 
For more than six months Mr. Greeley had been preparing 
the way for this consummation. He was in Chicago several 
days before the meeting of the convention and he devoted 
every hour of the interval to the most steady and relentless 
prosecution of the main business which took him thither. 

"While it was known to some that nearly six years ago 
he had privately, but distinctly, repudiated all further po- 
litical friendship for and alliance with Governor Seward, for 
the avowed reason that Governor Seward had never aided or 
advised his elevation to offtce, no use was made of this knowl- 
edge in quarters where it would have disarmed the deadly ef- 
fect of his pretended friendship for the man upon whom he 
was thus deliberately wreaking the long hoarded revenge of 
a disappointed oflSce-seeker. . . . Being thus stimulated 
by a hatred he had secretly cherished for years, protected by 
the forbearance of those whom he assailed, and strong in the 
confidence of those upon whom he sought to operate, it is not 
strange that Mr. Greeley's efforts should have been crowned 
with success. But it is perfectly safe to say that no other 
man — certainly no one occupying a position less favourable 
for such an assault — could possibly have accomplished that 

Raymond's letter produced a profound impression. It ex- 
cited the astonishment and incredulity of every one. He had 
made a distinct charge that Greeley's opposition was the re- 
venge of a disappointed ofiQce-seeker, and the public, resent- 
ing the imputation, demanded the evidence. Greeley himself 
echoed the prayer by a blast from his silver trumpet which 
added to the interest as well as to the excitement. "This 
•New York Times^ May 25, 1860.^ 


carefully drawn indictment," he said, "contains a very artful 
mixture of truth and misrepresentation. No intelligent 
reader of the Tribune has for months been left in doubt of 
the fact that I deemed the nomination of Governor Seward 
for President at this time unwise and unsafe ; and none can 
fail to understand that I did my best at Chicago to prevent 
that nomination. My account of 'Last Week at Chicago' is 
explicit on that point. True, I do not believe my influence 
was so controlling as the defeated are disposed to represent 
it, but this is not material to the issue. It is agreed that I 
did what I could. 

"It is not true — it is grossly untrue — that at Chicago I 
commended myself to the confidence of delegates 'by profes- 
sions of regard and the most zealous friendship for Governor 
Seward, but presented defeat, even in 'New York, as the inev- 
itable result of his nomination.' The very reverse of this is 
the truth. I made no professions before the nomination, as 
I have uttered no lamentations since. It was the simple duty 
of each delegate to do just whatever was best for the Re- 
publican cause, regardless of personal considerations. And 
this is exactly what I did. . . . As to New York, I think 
I was at least a hundred times asked whether Governor Sew- 
ard could carry this State ;* and I am sure I uniformly re- 
sponded affirmatively, urging delegates to consider the New 
York delegation the highest authority on that point as I was 
strenuously urging that the delegations from Pennsylvania, 

* "At Chicago, Seward encountered the opposition from his own 
State of such powerful leaders as Greeley, Dudley Field, Bryant, 
and Wadsworth. The first two were on the ground and very busy. 
The two latter sent pungent letters that were circulated among 
the delegates from the various States. The main point of the at- 
tack was that Seward could not carry New York. Soon after the 
adjournment of the convention, William Curtis Noyes, a delegate, 
told me that a careful canvass of the New York delegation showed 
t;hat nearly one-fourth of its members believed it was extremely 
doubtful if Seward could obtain a majority at the polls in that 
State." — H. B. Stanton, Random ReeolleetUms, pp. 214-15. "Perhaps 
the main stumbling block over which he fell in. the convention 
-was Thurlow Weed."— Ibid., p. 215. 

1860] GEEELEY'S REPLY 309 

'New Jersey, Indiana, and Illinois must be regarded as au- 
thority as to who could and who could not carry their re- 
spective States. 

"Mr. Raymond proceeds to state that I had, 'in November, 
1854, privately but distinctly repudiated all further political 
friendship for and alliance with Governor Seward, and men- 
aced him with hostility wherever it could be made most ef- 
fective; for the avowed reason that Governor Seward had 
never advised my elevation to oflSce,' &c. This is a very 
grave charge, and, being dated 'Auburn, Tuesday, May 22, 
I860,' and written by one who was there expressly and avow- 
edly to console with Governor Seward on his defeat and de- 
nounce me as its author, it is impossible not to see 
that Governor Seward is its responsible source. I, there- 
fore, call on him for the private letter which I did write him 
in November, 1854, that I may print it verbatim in the 
Tribune, and let every reader judge how far it sustains the 
charges which his mouthpiece bases thereon. I maintain that 
it does not sustain them ; but I have no copy of the letter, and 
I cannot discuss its contents while it remains in the hands 
of my adversaries, to be used at their discretion. I leave to 
others all judgment as to the unauthorised use which has al- 
ready been made of this private and confidential letter, only 
remarking that this is by no means the first time it has been 
employed to like purpose. I have heard of its contents be- 
ing dispensed to members of Congress from Governor Sew- 
ard's dinner-table ; I have seen articles based on it paraded 
in the columns of such devoted champions of Governor Sew- 
ard's principles and aims as the Boston Courier. It is fit 
that the New York Times should follow in their footsteps; 
but I, who am thus fired on from an ambush, demand that 
the letter shall no longer be thus employed. Let me have the 
letter and it shall appear verbatim in every edition of the 
Tribune. Meantime, I only say that, when I fully decided 
that I would no longer be devoted to Governor Seward's per- 
sonal fortunes, it seemed due to candour and fair dealing 
that I should privately but in all frankness apprise him of 


the fact. It was not possible that I could in any way be 
profited by writing that letter ; I well understood that it in- 
volved an abdication of all hopes of political advancement ; 
yet it seemed due to my own character that the letter should 
be written. Of course I never dreamed that it could be pub- 
lished, or used as it already has been ; but no matter — let us 
have the letter in print, and let the public judge between its 
writer and his open and covert assailants. At all events I 
ask no favour and fear, no open hostility. 

"There are those who will at all events believe that my 
opposition to Governor Seward's nomination was impelled 
by personal considerations ; and among these I should expect 
to find the Hon. Henry J. Raymond. With these I have no 
time for controversy; in their eyes I desire no vindication. 
But there is another and far larger class who will realise 
that the obstacles to Governor Seward's election were in no 
degree of my creation, and that their removal was utterly 
beyond my powers. The whole course of the Tribune has 
tended to facilitate the elevation to the Presidency of a states- 
man cherishing the pronounced anti-slavery views of Gov- 
ernor Seward ; it is only on questions of finance and public 
economy that there has been any perceptible divergence be- 
tween us. Those anti-democratic voters of Pennsylvania, 
New Jersey, Indiana, and Illinois, who could not be induced 
to vote for Governor Seward, have derived their notions of 
him in some measure from the Times, but in no measure from 
the Tribune. The delegations from those States, with the 
candidates for governor in Pennsylvania and Indiana, whose 
representations and remonstrances rendered the nomination 
of Governor Seward, in the eyes of all intelligent, imparf ial 
observers, a clear act of political suicide, were nowise in- 
structed or impelled by me. They acted on views deliberately 
formed long before they came to Chicago. It is pot my part 
to vindicate them ; but whoever says they were infiuenced by 
me, other than I was by them, does them the grossest 

"I wished first of all to succeed ; next, to strengthen and 


establish our struggling brethren in the border slave States. 
If it had seemed to me possible to obtain one more vote in 
the doubtful States for Governor Seward than for any one 
else, I should have struggled for him as ardently as I did 
against him, even though I had known that the Raymonds 
who hang about our party were to be his trusted counsellors 
and I inflexibly shut out from his confidence and favour. If 
there be any who do not believe this, I neither desire their 
friendship nor deprecate their hostility."^ 

Greeley's demand for his letter did not meet with swift 
response. It was made on June 2. When Seward passed 
through New York on his way to Washington on the 8th, a 
friend of Greeley waited upon him, but he had nothing for 
the Tribune. Days multiplied into a week, and still nothing 
came. Finally, on June 13, Greeley received it through the 
hands of Thurlow Weed and published it on the 14th. It 
bore date "New York, Saturday evening, November 11, 1854," 
and was addressed simply to "Governor Seward." Its great 
length consigned it to nonpareil in strange contrast to the 
long primer type of the editorial page, but its publication 
became the sensation of the hour. To this day its fine 
thought-shading is regarded the best illustration of Greeley's 
matchless prose. 

"The election is over," he says, "and its results sufficiently 
ascertained. It seems to me a fitting time to announce to 
you the dissolution of the political firm of Seward, Weed & 
Greeley, by the withdrawal of the junior partner — said with- 
drawal to take effect on the morning after the first Tuesday 
In February next. And, as it may seem a great presumption 
in me to assume that any such firm exists, especially since 
the public was advised, rather more than a year ago, by an 
editorial rescript in the Evening Journal, formally reading 
me out of the Whig party, that I was esteemed no longer 
either useful or ornamental in the concern, you will, I am 
sure, indulge me in some reminscences which seem to befit 
the occasion. 

" New York Tribune, June 2, 1860. 


"I was a poor young printer and editor of a literary jour- 
nal — a very active and bitter Whig in a small way, but not 
seeking to be known out of my own ward committee — when, 
after the great political revulsion of 1837, I was one day 
called to the City Hotel, where two strangers introduced 
themselves as Thurlow Weed and Lewis Benedict, of Albany. 
They told me that a cheap campaign paper of a peculiar 
stamp at Albany had been resolved on, and that I had been 
selected to edit it. The announcement might well be deemed 
flattering by one who had never even sought the notice of the 
great, and who was not known as a partisan writer, and I 
eagerly embraced their proposals. They asked me to fix my 
salary for the year; I named |1,000, which they agreed to; 
and I did the work required to the best of my ability. It was 
work that made no figure and created no sensation; but I 
loved it and did it well. When it was done you were Gov- 
ernor, dispensing oflSces worth $3000 to $20,000 per year to 
your friends and compatriots, and I returned to my garret 
and my crust, and my desperate battle with pecuniary obliga- 
tions heaped upon me by bad partners in business and the 
disastrous events of 1837. I believe it did not then 
occur to me that some of these abundant places might 
have been offered to me without injustice; I now think it 
should have occurred to you. If it did occur to me, I was not 
the man to ask you for it ; I think that should not have been 
necessary. I only remember that no friend at Albany in- 
quired as to my pecuniary circumstances; that your friend 
(but not mine), Robert C. Wetmore, was one of the chief dis- 
pensers of your patronage here ; and that such devoted com- 
patriots as A. H. Wells and John Hooks were lifted by you 
out of pauperism into independence, as I am glad I was not ; 
and yet an inquiry from you as to my needs and means at 
that time would have been timely, and held ever in grateful 

"In the Harrison campaign of 1840 I was again designated 
to edit a campaign paper. I published it as well, and ought 
to have made something by it, in spite of its extremely 


low price; my extreme poverty was the main reason why 
I did not. It compelled me to hire presswork, mailing, 
etc., done by the job, and high charges for extra work 
nearly ate me up. At the close I was still without prop- 
erty and in debt, but this paper had rather improved my 

"Now canje the great scramble of the swell mob of coon 
minstrels and cider suckers at Washington — I not being 
counted in. Several regiments of them went on from this 
city; but no one of the whole crowd — though I say it who 
should not — had done so much toward General Harrison's 
nomination and election as yours respectfully. I asked 
nothing, expected nothing ; but you, Governor Seward, ought 
to have asked that I he postmaster of New York. Your ask- 
ing would have been in vain ; but it would have been an act 
of grace neither wasted nor undeserved. 

"I soon after started the Tribune, because I was urged to 
do so by certain of your friends, and because such a paper 
was needed here. I was promised certain pecuniary aid in 
so doing; it might have been given me without cost or risk 
to any one. All I ever had was a loan by piecemeal of flOOO, 
from James Coggeshall. God bless his honoured memory ! I 
did not ask for this, and I think it is the one sole case in 
which I ever received a pecuniary favour from a political as- 
sociate. I am very thankful that he did not die till it was 
fully repaid. 

"And let me here honour one grateful recollection. When 
the Whig party under your rule had ofiaces to give, my name 
was never thought of ; but when in '42-'43, we were hopelessly 
out of power, I was honoured with the nomination for state 
printer. When we came again to have a state printer to 
elect, as well as nominate, the place went to Weed, as it 
ought. Yet it was worth something to know that there was 
once a time when it was not deemed too great a sacrifice to 
recognise me as belonging to your household. If a new office 
had not since been created on purpose to give its valuable 
patronage to H. J. Raymond and enable St. John to show 

314 KAYMOND, GEEELET, AND WEED [Chap. xxra. 

forth his Times as the organ of the Whig state administra- 
tion, I should have been still more grateful. 

"In 1848 your star again rose, and my warmest hopes were 
realised in your election to the Senate. I was no longer 
needy, and had no more claim than desire to be recognised by 
General Taylor. I think I had some claim to forbearance 
from you. What I received thereupon was a most humiliat- 
ing lecture in the shape of a decision in the libel case of Red- 
field and Pringle, and an obligation to publish it in my own 
and the other journal of our supposed firm. I thought and 
still think this lecture needlessly cruel and mortifying. The 
plaintiffs, after using my columns to the extent of their 
needs or desires, stopped writing and called on me for the 
name of their assailant. I proffered it to them — a thoroughly 
responsible man. They refused to accept it unless it should 
prove to be one of the four or five first men in Batavia! — 
when they had known from the first who it was, and that it 
was neither of them. They would not accept that which they 
had demanded ; they sued me instead for money, and money 
you were at liberty to give them to their heart's content. I 
do not think you were at liberty to humiliate me in the eyes 
of my own and your public as you did. I think you exalted 
your own judicial sternness and fearlessness unduly at 
my expense. I think you had a better occasion for the 
display of these qualities when Webb threw himself entirely 
upon you for a pardon which he had done all a man could 
do to demerit. His paper is paying you for it now. 

"I have publicly set forth my view of your and our duty 
with respect to fusion, Nebraska, and party designations. I 
will not repeat any of that. I have referred also to Weed's 
reading me out of the Whig party — my crime being, in this 
as in some other things, that of doing to-day what more 
politic persons will not be ready to do till to-morrow. 

"Let me speak of the-late canvass. I was once sent to Con- 
gress for ninety days merely to enable Jim Brooks to secure 
a seat therein for four years. / think I never hinted to any 
human being that I would have lilced to he put forward for 

1860] FAMILY JAES 315 

any place. But James W. White (you hardly know how good 
and true a man he is) started my name for Congress, and 
Brooks' packed delegation thought I could help him through ; 
so I was put on behind him. But this last spring, after the 
Nebraska question had created a new state of things at the 
North, one or two personal friends, of no political considera- 
tion, suggested my name as a candidate for governor, and I 
did not discourage them. Soon, the persons who were after- 
ward mainly instrumental in nominating Clark came about 
me, and asked if I could secure the Know-Nothing vote. I 
told them I neither could nor would touch it; on the con- 
trary, I loathed and repelled it. Thereupon they turned upon 

"I said nothing, did nothing. A hundred people asked me 
who should be run for governor. I sometimes indicated Pat- 
terson ; I never hinted at my own name. But by and by Weed 
came down, and called me to him, to tell me why he could 
not support me for governor. I had never asked nor counted 
on his support. 

"I am sure Weed did not mean to humiliate me; but he 
did it. The upshot of his discourse (very cautiously stated) 
was this : If I were a candidate for governor, I should beat 
not myself only, but you. Perhaps that was true. But as I 
had in no manner solicited his or your support, I thought 
this might have been said to my friends rather than to me. 
I suspect it is true that I could not have been elected gov- 
ernor as a Whig. But had he and you been favourable, there 
would have been a party in the State ere this which could 
and would have elected me to any post, without injuring 
itself or endangering your re-election. 

"It was in vain that I urged that I had in no manner asked 
a nomination. At length I was nettled by his language — 
well intended, but very cutting as addressed by him to me — 
to say, in substance, 'Well, then, make Patterson governor, 
and try my name for lieutenant. To lose this place is a 
matter of no importance; and we can see whether I am really 
so odious.' 


"I should have hated to serve as lieutenant-governor, but I 
should have gloried in running for the post. I want to have 
my enemies all upon me at once ; am tired of fighting them 
piecemeal. And, though I should have been beaten in the 
canvass, I know that my running would have helped the 
ticket, and helped my paper. 

"It was thought best to let the matter take another course. 
No other name could have been put on the ticket so bitterly 
humbling to me as that which was selected. The nomination 
was given to Kaymond; the fight left to me. And, Governor 
Seward, / have made it, though it be conceited in me to say 
so. Even Weed has not been (I speak of his paper) hearty 
in this contest, while the journal of the Whig lieutenant- 
governor has taken care of its own interests and let the can- 
vass take care of itself, as it early declared it would do. That 
journal has (because of its milk-and-water course) some 
twenty thousand subscribers in this city and its suburbs, and 
of these twenty thousand, I venture to say more voted for 
Ullman and Scroggs than for Clark and Kaymond ; the Trib- 
une (also because of its character) has but eight thousand 
subscribers within the same radius, and I venture to say that 
of its habitual readers, nine-tenths voted for Clark and Ray- 
mond — very few for Ullman and Scroggs. I had to bear the 
brunt of the contest. . . . 

"Governor Seward, I know that some of your most cher- 
ished friends think me a great obstacle to your advancement ; 
that John Schoolcraft, for one, insists that you and Weed 
should not be identified with me. I trust, after a time, you 
will not be. I trust I shall never be found in opposition to 
you; I have no further wish than to glide out of the news- 
paper world as quietly and as speedily as possible, join my 
family in Europe, and, if possible, stay there quite a time — 
long enough to cool my fevered brain and renovate my over- 
tasked energies. All I ask is that we shall be counted even 
on the morning after the first Tuesday in February, as afore- 
said, and that I may thereafter take such course as seems 
best without reference to the past. 


"You have done me acts of valued kindness in the line of 
your profession; let me close with the assurance that these 
will ever be gratefully remembered by Yours, Horace 

At the time Seward received this letter he regarded it as 
only a passing cloud-shadow. "To-day I have a long letter 
from Greeley', full of sharp, pricking thorns," he wrote Weed. 
"I judge, as we might indeed well know from his nobleness 
of disposition, that he has no idea of saying or doing any- 
thing wrong or unkind ; but it is sad to see him so unhappy. 
Will there be a vacancy in the Board of Regents this winter? 
Could one be made at the close of the session? Could he 
have it? Raymond's nomination and election is hard for him 
to bear."' Two or three weeks later, after a call at the 
Tribune office, Seward again wrote Weed, suggesting that 
"Greeley's despondency is overwhelming, and seems to be 
aggravated by the loss of subscribers. But below this is cha- 
grin at the failure to obtain official position."* With such 
inquiries and comments Seward put the famous letter away.* 

Its publication did not accomplish all that Raymond ex- 
pected. People were amazed, and deep in their hearts many 
persons felt that Greeley had been treated unfairly. The in- 
quiry as to a vacancy in the Board of Regents showed that 
Seward himself shared this opinion at the time. But the 
question that most interested the public in 1860 was, why, if 

• New York Tribune, June 14, 1860. 

' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 239. 

'Ibid., p. 240. 

" "My personal relations with Governor Seward were wholly un- 
changed by this letter. We met frequently and cordially after it 
was written, and we very freely conferred and co-operated during 
the long struggle in Congress for Kansas and Free Labour. He 
understood as well as I did that my position with regard to him, 
though more independent than it had been, was nowise hostile, 
and that I was as ready to support his advancement as that of any 
other statesman, whenever my judgment should tell me that the 
public good required it. I was not his adversary, but my own and 
my country's freeman." — Horace Greeley, ReeoUectiona of a Busy 
Life, p. 321. 

318 EATMOND, GEEELET, AND WEED [Chap. xxin. 

Greeley had declared war upon Seward in 1854, did not Weed 
make it known in time to destroy the influence of the man 
who had "deliberately wreaked the long-hoarded revenge of 
a disappointed oflSce-seeker?" This question reflected upon 
Weed's management of Seward's campaign, and to avoid the 
criticism he claimed to have been "in blissful ignorance of its 
contents." This seems almost impossible. But in explaining 
the groundlessness of Greeley's complaints. Weed wrote an 
editorial, the dignity and patriotism of which contrasted fa- 
vourably with Greeley's self-seeking. 

"There are some things in this letter," wrote the editor of 
the Evening Journal, "requiring explanation — all things in 
it, indeed, are susceptible of explanations consistent with 
Governor Seward's full appreciation of Mr. Greeley's friend- 
ship and services. The letter was evidently written under 
a morbid state of feeling, and it is less a matter of surprise 
that such a letter was thus written, than that its writer 
should not only cherish the ill-will that prompted it for six 
years, but allow it to influence his action upon a question 
which concerns his party and his country. 

"Mr. Greeley's first complaint is that this journal, in an 
'editorial rescript formally read him out of the Whig party.' 
Now, here is the 'editorial rescript formally reading' Mr. 
Greeley out of the Whig party, taken from the Evening Jour- 
nal of September 6, 1853 : 

" 'The Tribune defines its position in reference to the ap- 
proaching election. Eegarding the "Maine law" as a ques- 
tion of paramount importance, it will support members of 
the legislature friendly to its passage, irrespective of party. 
For state oflScers it will support such men as it deems com- 
petent and trustworthy, irrespective also of party, and with- 
out regard to the "Maine law." In a word, it avows itself, for 
the present, if not forever, an independent journal (it was 
pretty much so always), discarding party usages, mandates, 
and platforms. 

" 'We regret to lose, in the Tribune, an old, able, and effi- 


cient co-labourer in the Whig vineyard. But when carried 
away by its convictions of duty to other, and, in its judg- 
ment, higher and more beneficent objects, we have as little 
right as inclination to complain. The Tribune takes with it, 
wherever it goes, an indomitable and powerful pen, a de- 
voted, a noble, and an unselfish zeal. Its senior editor evi- 
dently supjtoses himself permanently divorced from the 
Whig party, but we shall be disappointed if, after a year or 
two's sturdy pulling at the oar of reform, he does not return 
to his long-cherished belief that great and beneficent aims 
must continue, as they commenced, to be wrought out 
through Whig instrumentalities. 

" 'But we only intended to say that the Tribune openly and 
frankly avows its intention and policy; and that in things 
about which we cannot agree, we can and will disagree as 

"Pray read this article again, if its purpose and import 
be not clearly understood! At the time it appeared, the 
Tribune was under high pressure 'Maine law' speed. That 
question, in Mr. Greeley's view, was paramount to all others. 
It was the Tribune's 'higher law.' Mr. Greeley had given 
warning in his paper that he should support 'Maine law' can- 
didates for the legislature, and for state offices, regardless 
of their political or party principles and character. And 
this, too, when senators to be elected had to choose a senator 
in Congress. But instead of 'reading' Mr. Greeley 'out of the 
Whig party,' it will be seen that after Mr. Greeley had read 
himself out of the party by discarding 'party usages, man- 
dates, and platforms,' the Evening Journal, in the language 
and spirit of friendship, predicted just what happened, 
namely, that, in due time, Mr. Greeley would 'return to his 
long-cherished belief that great and beneficent aims must 
continue, as they commenced, to be wrought out through 
Whig instrumentalities.' 

"We submit, even to Mr. Greeley himself, whether there 
is one word or thought in the article to which he referred 


justifying his accusation that he had been 'read out of the 
Whig party' by the Evening Journal. 

"In December, 1837, when we sought the acquaintance and 
co-operation of Mr. Greeley, we were, like him, a 'poor 
printer,' working as hard as he worked. We had then been 
sole editor, reporter, news collector, 'remarkable accident,' 
'horrid murder,' 'items' man, etc., etc., for seven years, at a 
salary of $750, $1000, $1250, and $1500. We had also been 
working hard, for poor pay, as an editor and politician, for 
the twelve years preceding 1830. We stood, therefore, on the 
same footing with Mr. Greeley when the partnership was 
formed. We knew that Mr. Greeley was much abler, more 
indomitably industrious, and, as we believed, a better man 
in all respects. We foresaw for him a brilliant future ; and, 
if we had not started with utterly erroneous views of his ob- 
jects, we do not believe that our relations would have jarred. 
We believed him indifferent alike to the temptations of 
money and office, desiring only to become both 'useful' and 
'ornamental,' as the editor of a patriotic, enlightened, lead- 
ing, and influential public journal. For years, therefore, we 
placed Horace Greeley far above the 'swell mob' of office- 
seekers, for whom, in his letter, he expresses so much con- 
tempt. Had Governor Seward known, in 1838, that Mr. 
Greeley coveted an inspectorship, he certainly would have 
received it. Indeed, if our memory be not at fault, Mr. Gree- 
ley was offered the clerkship of the Assembly in 1838. It 
was certainly pressed upon us, and, though at that time, like 
Mr. Greeley, desperately poor, it was declined. 

"We cannot think that Mr. Greeley's political friends, after 
the Tribune was under way, knew that he needed the 'pecu- 
niary aid' which had been promised. When, about that 
period, we suggested to him (after consulting some of the 
board) that the printing of the common council, might be ob- 
tained, he refused to have anything to do with it. 

"In relation to the state printing, Mr. Greeley knows that 
there never was a day when, if he had chosen to come to Al- 
bany, he might Uot have taken whatever interest he pleased 


in the Journal and its state printing. But he wisely re- 
garded his position in New York, and the future of the 
Tribune, as far more desirable. 

"For the 'creation of the new oflflce for the Times' Mr. 
Greeley knows perfectly well that Governor Seward was in 
no manner responsible. 

"That Mr.iGreeley should make the adjustment of the libel 
suit of Messrs. Redfield and Pringle against the Tribune a 
ground of accusation against Governor Seward is a matter 
of astonishment. Governor Seward undertook the settlement 
of that suit as the friend of Mr. Greeley, at a time when a 
systematic effort was being made to destroy both the Tribune 
and Journal by prosecutions for libel. We were literally 
plastered over with writs, declarations, etc. There were at 
least two judges of the Supreme Court in the State, on whom 
plaintiffs were at liberty to count for verdicts. Governor 
Seward tendered his professional services to Mr. Greeley, 
and in the case referred to, as in others, foiled the adversary. 
For such service this seems a strange requital. Less fortu- 
nate than the Tribune, it cost the Journal over |8000 to reach 
a point in legal proceedings that enabled a defendant in a 
libel suit to give the truth in evidence. 

"It was by no fault or neglect or wish of Governor Seward 
that Mr. Greeley served but 'ninety days in Congress.' Nor 
will we say what others have said, that his .congressional 
debut was a failure. There were no other reasons, and this 
seems a fitting occasion to state them. Mr. Greeley's 'isms' 
were in his way at conventions. The sharp points and rough 
edges of the Tribune rendered him unacceptable to those who 
nominate candidates. This was more so formerly than at 
present, for most of the rampant reforms to which the 
Tribune was devoted have subsided. We had no sympathy 
with, and little respect for, a constituency that preferred 
'Jim' Brooks to Horace Greeley. 

"Nearly forty years of experience leaves us in some doubt 
whether, with political friends, an open, frank, and truthful, 
or a cautious, calculating, non-committal course is not the 


right, but the easiest and most politic. The former, which 
we have chosen, has made us much trouble and many ene- 
mies. Few candidates are able to bear the truth, or to be- 
lieve that the friend who utters it is truly one. 

"In 1854, the Tribune, through years of earnest effort, had 
educated the people up to the point of demanding a 'Maine 
law' candidate for governor. But its followers would not 
accept their chief reformer! It was evident that the state 
convention was to be largely influenced by 'Maine law' and 
'Choctaw' Know-Nothing delegates. It was equally evident 
that Mr. Greeley could neither be nominated nor elected. 
Hence the conference to which he refers. We found, as on 
two other occasions during thirty years, our state convention 
impracticable. We submitted the names of Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Patterson and Judge Harris (both temperance men in 
faith and practice) as candidates for governor, coupled with 
that of Mr. Greeley for lieutenant-governor. But the 'Maine 
law' men would have none of these, preferring Myron H. 
Clark (who used up the raw material of temperance), quali- 
fied by H. J. Raymond for lieutenant-governor. 

"What Mr. Greeley says of the relative zeal and efficiency 
of the Tribune and Times, and of our own feelings in that 
contest, is true. We did our duty, but with less of enthu- 
siasm than when we were supporting either Granger, Sew- 
ard, Bradish, Hunt, Fish, King, or Morgan for governor. 

"One word in relation to the supposed 'political firm.' Mr. 
Greeley brought into it his full quota of capital. But were 
there no beneficial results, no accruing advantages, to him- 
self? Did he not attain, in the sixteen years, a high posi- 
tion, world-wide reputation, and an ample fortune? Admit, 
as we do, that he is not as wealthy as we wish he was, it is 
not because the Tribune has not made his fortune, but be- 
cause he did not keep it — because it went, as other people's 
money goes, to friends, to pay indorsements," and in bad 

"We had both been liberally, nay, generously, sustained 
by our party. Mr. Greeley differs with us in regarding pat- 


rons of newspapers as conferring favours. In giving them 
the worth of their money, he holds that the account is bal- 
anced. We, on the other hand, have ever held the relation 
of newspaper editor and subscriber as one of fraternity. 
Viewed in this aspect, the editors of the Tribune and Evening 
Journal have manifold reasons for cherishing grateful recol- 
lections of tihe liberal and abiding confidence and patronage 
of their party and friends. 

"In conclusion, we cannot withhold an expression of sin- 
cere regret that this letter has been called out. After remain- 
ing six years in 'blissful ignorance' of its contents, we should 
have preferred to have ever remained so. It jars harshly 
upon cherished memories. It destroys ideals of disinterest- 
edness and generosity which relieved political life from so 
much that is selfish, sordid, and rapacious." 

Henry B. Stanton once asked Seward, directly, if he did 
not think it would have been better to let Greeley have office. 
"Mr. Seward looked at me intently, rolled out a cloud of to- 
bacco smoke, and then slowly responded : 'I don't know but 
it would.' "^" It is doubtful, however, if Seward ever forgave 
a New Yorker who contributed to his defeat. Lincoln spoke 
of him as "without gall," but Stanton declared him a good 
hater who lay in wait to punish his foes. Greeley, James S. 
Wadsworth, William Cullen Bryant, and David Dudley 
Field, conspicuously led the opposition, and if he failed to 
annihilate them all it is because some of them did not give 
him a chance to strike back. Greeley caught the first knock- 
out blow in February, 1861 ; and in 1862, says Stanton, "he 
doubtless defeated James S. Wadsworth for governor of 
New York. Wadsworth, who was then military commander 
of Washington, told me that Seward was 'dead against him' 
all through the campaign."!^ 

*° H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, pp. 199, 300. 
"Iftid., p. 216. 




After the return of the Softs from Baltimore the condi- 
tion of the Democratic party became a subject of much anx- 
iety. Dean Richmond's persistent use of the unit rule had 
driven the Hards into open rebellion, and at a great mass- 
meeting, held at Cooper Institute and addressed by Daniel 
S. Dickinson, it was agreed to hold a Breckenridge and Lane 
state convention at Syracuse on August 8. At the appointed 
time three hundred delegates appeared, representing every 
county, but with the notable exception of the chairman, 
Henry S. Randall, the biographer of Thomas Jefferson, who 
had advocated the Wilmot Proviso in 1847, written the Buf- 
falo platform in 1848, and opposed the fugitive slave law in 
1830, practically all of them had steadily opposed the Free- 
soil influences of their party. To many it seemed strange, if 
not absolutely ludicrous, to hoist a pro-slavery flag in the 
Empire State. But Republicans welcomed the division of 
their opponents, and the Hards were terribly in earnest. 
They organised with due formality; spent two days in con- 
ference; adopted the pro-slavery platform of the seceders' 
convention amidst loud cheering; selected candidates for a 
state and electoral ticket with the care that precedes certain 
election; angrily denounced the leadership of Dean Rich- 
mond at Charleston and Baltimore; appointed a new state 
committee, and, with the usual assurance of determined men, 
claimed a large following. 

The indomitable Dickinson, in a speech not unlike his 
Cooper Institute address, declared that Breckenridge, the 
regularly nominated candidate of seventeen States and por- 


1860] JAMES T. BEADY 325 

tions of other States, would secure one hundred and twenty- 
seven electoral votes in the South and on the Pacific coast. 
This made the election, he argued, depend upon New York, 
and since Douglas would start without the hope of getting 
a single vote, it became the duty of every national Democrat 
to insist that the lUinoisan be withdrawn. People might 
scoflf at this movement as "a cloud no bigger than a man's 
hand," he said, but it would grow in size and send forth a 
deluge that would refresh and purify the arid soil of politics. 
The applause that greeted this prophecy indicated faith in a 
principle that most people knew had outlived its day in the 
State ; and, although Dickinson was always altogether on one 
side, it is scarcely credible that he could sincerely believe 
that New York would support Breckenridge, even if Douglas 

The Hards conjured with a few distinguished names which 
still gave them prestige. Charles O'Conor, Greene C. Bron- 
son, and John A. Dix, as conservative, moderate leaders, un- 
doubtedly had the confidence of many people, and their 
ticket, headed by James T. Brady, the brilliant lawyer, 
looked formidable. Personally, Brady was perhaps the most 
popular man in New York City ; and had he stood upon other 
than a pro-slavery platform his support must have been gen- 
erous. But the fact that he advocated the protection of slave 
property in the territories, although opposed to Buchanan's 
Lecompton policy, was destined to subject him to humiliat- 
ing defeat. 

The Softs met in convention on August 15. In numbers 
and noisy enthusiasm they did not seem to represent a larger 
following than the Hards, but their principles expressed the 
real sentiment of whatever was left of the rank and file of 
the Democratic party of the State. Horatio Seymour was 
the pivotal personage. Around him they rallied. The resolu- 
tion indorsing Stephen A. Douglas and his doctrine of non- 
intervention very adroitly avoided quarrels. It accepted Fer- 
nando Wood's delegation on equal terms with Tammany ; re- 
fused to notice the Hards' attack upon Dean Richmond and 


the majority of the Charleston delegation; and nominated 
William Kelley of Hudson for governor by acclamation. 
Kelley was a large farmer of respectable character and tal- 
ents, who had served with credit in the State Senate and sup- 
ported Van Buren in 1848 with the warmth of a sincere Free- 
soiler. He was evidently a man without guile, and, although 
modest and plain-spoken, he knew what the farmer and work- 
ingman most wanted, and addressed himself to their best 
thought. It was generally conceded that he would poll the 
full strength of his party. 

But the cleverest act of the convention was its fusion with 
the Constitutional Union party. In the preceding May, the 
old-line Whigs and Know-Nothings had met at Baltimore and 
nominated John Bell of Tennessee for President and Edward 
Everett of Massachusetts for Vice President, on the simple 
platform: "The Constitution of the courtry, the union of 
the States, and the enforcement of the laws." Washington 
Hunt, the former governor of New York, had become the 
convention's president, and, in company with James Brooks 
and William Duer, he had arranged with the Softs to place 
on the Douglas electoral ticket ten representatives of the 
Union party, with William Kent, the popular son of the dis- 
tinguished Chancellor, at their head. 

Hunt had become a thorn in the side of his old friends, 
now the leading Republican managers. He had joined them 
as a Whig in the thirties. After sending him to Congress for 
three terms and making him comptroller of state in 1848, 
they had elected him governor in 1850; but, in the division 
of the party, he joined the Silver-Grays, failed of re-election 
in 1852, dropped into the American party in 1854, and sup- 
ported Fillmore in 1856. Thurlow Weed thought he ought to 
have aided them in the formation of the Republican party, 
and Horace Greeley occasionally reminded him that a decent 
regard for consistency should impel him to act in accordance 
with his anti-slavery record ; but when, in 1860, Hunt began 
the crusade that successfully fused the Douglas and Bell 
tickets in New York, thus seriously endangering the election 


of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican editors opened their 
batteries upon him with well-directed aim. In his one at- 
tempt to face these attacks, Hunt taunted Greeley with be- 
ing "more dangerous to friend than to foe." To this the 
editor of the Tribune retorted : "When I was your friend, 
you were six times before the people as a candidate for most 
desirable offices, and in five of those six were successful, while 
you were repeatedly a candidate before and have been since, 
and always defeated. Possibly some have found me a dan- 
gerous friend, but you never did."^ 

Hunt's coalition movement, called the "Syracuse juggle" 
and the "confusion ticket," did not work as smoothly as he 
expected. It gave rise to a bitter controversy which at once 
impaired its value. The Bell negotiators declared that the 
ten electors, if chosen, would be free to vote for their own 
candidate, while the Douglas mediators stated with emphasis 
that each elector was not only pledged by the resolution of 
the convention to support Douglas, but was required to give 
his consent to do so or allow another to fill his place. "We 
cannot tell which answer is right," said the New York Sun, 
"but it looks as if there were deception practised." The 
Tribune presented the ridiculous phase of it when it declared 
that the Bell electors were put up to catch the Know-Noth- 
ings, while the others would trap the Irish and Germans. "Is 
this the way," it asked, referring to William Kent and his 
associates, "in which honourable men who have characters 
to support, conduct political contests?"* To dissipate the 
confusion, Hunt explained that the defeat of Lincoln would 
probably throw the election into Congress, in which event 
Bell would become President. "But we declare, with the 
same frankness, that if Douglas, and not Bell, shall become 
President, we will welcome that result as greatly preferable 
to the success of sectional candidates."^ 

The Republican state convention which met at Syracuse 
on August 22, did not muffle its enthusiasm over the 

'New York Tribune, July 23, 1860. 
' lUA., July 14, 1860. ' IMd., July 24, 1860. 


schism in the Democratic party. Seward and his friends 
had regained their composure. A midsummer trip to New 
England, chiefly for recreation, had brought great crowds 
about the Auburn statesmen wherever he appeared, and, en- 
couraged by their enthusiastic devotion, he returned satis- 
fied with the place he held in the hearts of Republicans. His 
followers, too, indicated their disappointment by no public 
word or sign. To the end of the convention its proceedings 
were marked by harmony and unanimity. Edwin D. Morgan 
was renominated for governor by acclamation ; the platform 
of Chicago principles was adopted amidst prolonged cheers, 
and the selection of electors approved without dissent. The 
happy combination of the two electors-at-large, William Cul- 
len Bryant and James O. Putnam, evidenced the spirit of 
loyalty to Abraham Lincoln that inspired all participants. 
Bryant had been an oracle of the radical democracy for more 
than twenty years, and had stubbornly opposed Seward; 
Putnam, a Whig of the school of Clay and Webster, had, 
until recently, zealously supported Millard Fillmore and the 
American party. In its eagerness to unite every phase of 
anti-slavery sentiment the convention buried the past in its 
desire to know, in the words of Seward, "whether this is a 
constitutional government under which we live." 

During the campaign. Republican demonstrations glorified 
Lincoln's early occupation of rail-splitting, while the Wide- 
awakes, composed largely of young men who had studied the 
slavery question since 1852 solely as a moral issue, illumi- 
nated the night and aroused enthusiasm with their torches 
and expert marching. As early as in September, the New 
York Herald estimated that over four hundred thousand 
were already uniformed and drilled. In every town and vil- 
lage these organisations, unique then, although common 
enough nowadays, were conscious appeals for sympathy and 
favour, and undoubtedly contributed much to tfce result by 
enlisting the hearty support of first voters. Indeed, on the 
Republican side, it was largely a campaign of young men. 
"The Republican party," said Seward at Cleveland, "is a 


party chiefly of young men. Each successive year brings into 
its ranks an increasing proportion of the young men of this 

Aside from the torch-light processions of the Wide-awakes, 
the almost numberless speeches were the feature of the can- 
vass of 1860. There had, perhaps, been more exciting and en- 
thusiastic campaigns, but the number of meetings was with- 
out precedent. The Tribune estimated that ten thousand set 
addresses were made in New York alone, and that the num- 
ber in the country equalled all that had been made in pre- 
vious presidential canvasses since 1789. It is likewise true 
that at no time in the history of the State did so many distin- 
guished men take part in a campaign. Though the clergy 
were not so obtrusive as in 1856, Henry Ward Beecher and 
Edwin H. Chapin, the eminent Universalist, did not hesitate 
to deliver political sermons from their pulpits, closing their 
campaign on the Sunday evening before election. 

But the New Yorker whom the Eepublican masses most 
desired to hear and see was William H. Seward. Accord- 
ingly, in the latter part of August he started on a five weeks' 
tour through the Western States, beginning at Detroit and 
closing at Cleveland. At every point where train or steam- 
boat stopped, if only for fifteen minutes, thousands of people 
awaited his coming. The day he spoke in Chicago, it was 
estimated that two hundred thousand visitors came to that 
city. Rhodes suggests that "it was then he reached the cli- 
max of his career."' 

Seward's speeches contained nothing new, and in sub- 
stance they resembled one another. But in freshness of 
thought and kaleidoscopic phraseology, they were attractive, 
full of eloquence, and of statesmanlike comment, lifting the 

* F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, "Vol. 2, p. 463. Seward's 
Works, Vol. 4, p. 384. 

' "Seward filled the minds of Eepublicans, attracting' such atten- 
tion and honour, and arousing such enthusiasm, that the closing 
months of the campaign were the most brilliant epoch of his life. 
It was then he reached the climax of his career." — James F. 
Bhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 2, p. 493. 


campaign, then just opening, upon a high plane of political 
and moral patriotism. He avoided all personalities; he in- 
dicated no disappointment ;" his praise of Lincoln was in ex- 
cellent taste; and without evasion or concealment, but with 
a ripeness of experience that had mellowed and enlightened 
him, he talked of "higher law" and the "irrepressible conflict" 
in terms that made men welcome rather than fear their dis- 
cussion. "Let this battle be decided in favour of freedom in 
the territories," he declared, "and not one slave will ever be 
carried into the territories of the United States, and that 
will end the irrepressible conflict."^ 

The growth and resources of the great Northwest, whose 
development he attributed to the exclusion of slave labour, 
seemed to inspire him with the hope and faith of youth, and 
he spoke of its reservation for freedom and its settlement and 
upbuilding in the critical moment of the country's history as 
providential, since it must rally the free States of the At- 
lantic coast to call back the ancient principles which had 
T)een abandoned by the government to slavery. "We resign 
to you," he said, "the banner of human rights and human lib- 
erty on this continent, and we bid you be firm, bold, and on- 
ward, and then you may hope that we will be able to follow 
you." It was in one of these moments of exaltation when he 
seemed to be lifted into the higher domain of prophecy that 
he made the prediction afterward realised by the Alaska 
treaty. "Standing here and looking far off into the North- 
west," he said, "I see the Russian as he busily occupies him- 
self in establishing seaports and towns and fortifications on 

'"Seward charged his defeat chiefly to Greeley. He felt toward 
that influential editor as much vindietiveness as was possible in a 
man of so amiable a nature. But he did not retire to his tent." — 
James F. Rhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 2, p. 494. 

"The magnanimity of Mr. Seward, since the result of the con- 
Tention was known," wrote James Eussell Lowell, "has been a 
greater ornament to him and a greater honour to his party than 
his election to the Presidency would have been." — Atlantic Monthly, 
October, 1860: Lowell's Political Essays, p. 34. 

' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, pp. 462-66. 


the verge of this continent as the outposts of St. Petersburg, 
and I can say, 'Go on, and build up your outposts all along 
the coast, up even to the Arctic Ocean, for they will yet be- 
come the outposts of my own country — monuments of the 
civilisation of the United States in the Northwest.'" 

At the beginning of the canvass, Republican confidence 
and enthusiasm contrasted strangely with the apathy of the 
Democratic party, caused by its two tickets, two organisa- 
tions, and two incompatible platforms. It was recognised 
early in the campaign that Douglas could carry no slave 
State unless it be Missouri ; and, although the Douglas and 
Bell fusion awaked some hope, it was not until the fusion 
electoral ticket included supporters of Breckenridge that the 
struggle became vehement and energetic. New York's thirty- 
five votes were essential to the election of Lincoln, and early 
in September a determined effort began to unite the three 
parties against him. The Hards resisted the movement, but 
many merchants and capitalists of New York City, appre- 
hensive of the dissolution of the Union if Lincoln were 
elected, and promising large sums of money to the campaign, 
forced the substitution of seven Breckenridge electors in 
place of as many Douglas supporters, giving Bell ten, Breck- 
enridge seven, and Douglas eighteen. "It is understood," 
said the Tribune, "that four nabobs have already subscribed 
twenty-five thousand dollars each, and that one million is to 
be raised."" 

All this disturbed Lincoln. "I think there will be the 
most extraordinary effort ever made to carry New York for 
Douglas," he wrote Weed on August 17. "You and all others 
who write me from your State think the effort cannot succeed, 
and I hope you are right. Still, it will require close watching 
and great efforts on the other side."^° After fusion did suc- 
ceed, the Republican managers found encouragement in the 
fact that a majority of the Americans in the western part 

»F. W. Seward, Ldfe of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 464. 

'New York Tribune, October 19, 1860. 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 297. 


of the State,'^ following the lead of Putnam, belonged to the 
party of Lincoln, while the Germans gave comforting evi- 
dence of their support. On his return from the West Seward 
assured Lincoln "that this State will redeem all the pledges 
we have made.'"- Then came the October verdict from Penn- 
sylvania and Indiana. "Emancipation or revolution is now 
upon us," said the Charleston Mercury.^^ Yet the hope of 
the New York fusionists, encouraged by a stock panic in 
Wall Street and by the unconcealed statement of Howell 
Cobb of Georgia, then secretary of the treasury, that Lin- 
coln's election would be followed by disunion and a serious 
derangement of the financial interests of the country, kept 
the Empire State violently excited. It was reported in South- 
ern newspapers that William B. Astor had contributed one 
million of dollars in aid of the fusion ticket.^* It was a for- 
midable combination of elements. Heretofore the Repub- 
lican party had defeated them separately — now it met them 
as a united whole, when antagonisms, ceasing to be those of 
rational debate, had become those of fierce and furious pas- 
sion. Greeley pronounced it "a struggle as intense, as vehe- 
ment, and as energetic, as had ever been known," in New 
York.*' Yet Thurlow Weed's confidence never wavered. "The 
fusion leaders have largely increased their fund," he wrote 
Lincoln, three days before the election, "and they are now 
using money lavishly. This stimulates and to some extent 
inspires confidence, and all the confederates are at work. 
Some of our friends are nervous. But I have no fear of the 
result in this State."*" 

After the election, returns came in rapidly. Before mid- 

" "The names of eighty-one thousand New York men who voted 
for Fillmore in 1856 are inscribed on Kepublican poll-lists." — ^New 
York Tribune, September 11, 1860. 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 471. 

"October 18, 1860. • 

" Charleston Mercury, cited by National Intelligencer, November 1, 
1860; Richmond Enquirer, November 2. 

"Horace Greeley, American Conflict, Vol. 1, p. 300. 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 300. 


night they foreshadowed Lincoln's success, and the next 
morning's Tribune estimated that the Republicans had car- 
ried the electoral and state tickets by 30,000 to 50,000, with 
both branches of the Legislature and twenty-three out of 
thirty-three congressmen. The official figures did not change 
this prophecy, except to fix Lincoln's majority at 50,136 and 
Morgan's plilrality at 63,460. Lincoln received 4374 votes 
more than Morgan, but Kelley ran 27,698 behind the fusion 
electoral ticket, showing that the Bell and Everett men de- 
clined to vote for the Softs' candidate for governor. Brady's 
total vote, 19,841, marked the pro-slavery candidate's small 
support, leaving Morgan a clear majority of 48,619.^^ "Mr. 
Dickinson and myself," said James T. Brady, six years later, 
in his tribute to the former's memory, "belonged to the small, 
despairing band in this State who carried into the political 
contest of the North, for the last time, the flag of the South, 
contending that the South should enjoy to the utmost, and 
with liberal recognition, all the rights she could fairly claim 
under the Constitution of the United States. How small that 
band was all familiar with the political history of this State 
can tell."" 

"Edwin D. Morgan, 358.272; William Kelley, 294,812; James T. 
Brady, 19,841.— CieiJ List, State of New York (1887), p. 166. 

" Address at Bar meeting in New York City upon death of Daniel 
S. Bickinson. 




Upon the election of Lincoln in November, 1860, South 
Carolina almost immediately gave evidence of its purpose to 
secede from the Union. Democrats generally, and many sup- 
porters of Bell and Everett, had deemed secession probable 
in the event of Republican success — a belief so fully shared 
by the authorities at Washington, who understood the South- 
ern people, that General Scott, then at the head of the army, 
wrote to President Buchanan before the end of October, ad- 
vising that forts in all important Southern seaports be 
strengthened to avoid capture by surprise. On the other 
hand, the Republicans had regarded Southern threats as 
largely buncombe. They had been heard in 1820, in 1850, 
and so frequently in debate leading up to the contest in 1860, 
that William H. Seward, the most powerful leader of opinion 
in his party, had declared : "These hasty threats of disunion 
are so unnatural that they will find no hand to execute 

Nevertheless, when, on November 16, the South Carolina 
Legislature passed an act calling a convention to meet on 
December 17, the Republicans, still enthusiastic over their 
success, began seriously to consider the question of disunion. 
"Do you think the South will secede?" became as common 
a salutation as "Good-morning;" and, although a few New 
Yorkers, perhaps, gave the indifferent reply of Henry Ward 
Beecher — "I don't believe they will ; and I dod't care if they 
do"^ — ^the gloom and uncertainty which hung over business 

^ Speech of February 29, 1860: Seward's Works, Vol. 4, p. 619. 

' New York Tribune, November 30, 1860. The quotation is from an 
address delivered in Boston. 



circles made all anxious to hear from the leaders of their 
party. Heretofore, Horace Greeley, Thurlow Weed, and 
William H. Seward, backed by Henry J. Raymond of the 
New York Times and James Watson Webb of the Courier, 
had been quick to meet any emergency, and their followers 
now looked to them for direction. 

Horace Gr6eley was admittedly the most influential Re- 
publican journalist. He had not always agreed with the 
leaders, and just now an open break existed in the relations 
of himself and the powerful triumvirate headed by Thurlow 
Weed ; but Greeley had voiced the sentiment of the rank and 
file of his party more often than he had misstated it, and the 
Tribune readers naturally turned to their prophet for a solu- 
tion of the pending trouble. As usual, he had an opinion. 
The election occurred on November 6, and on the 9th he de- 
clared that "if the cotton States shall decide that they can 
do better out of the Union than in it, we insist on letting 
them go in peace. The right to secede may be a revolutionary 
one, but it exists nevertheless. . . . Whenever a consid- 
erable section of our Union shall deliberately resolve to go 
out, we shall resist all coercive measures designed to keep it 
in. We hope never to live in a republic, whereof one section 
is pinned to the residue by bayonets.' Two weeks later, on 
November 26, he practically repeated these views. "If the 
cotton States unitedly and earnestly wish to withdraw peace- 
fully from the Union, we think they should and would be al- 
lowed to go. Any attempt to compel them by force to re- 
main would be contrary to the principles enunciated in the 
immortal Declaration of Independence, contrary to the fun- 
damental ideas on which human liberty is based."* As late 
as December 17, when South Carolina and other Southern 
States were on the threshold of secession, Greeley declared 
that "if the Declaration of Independence justified the seces- 
sion from the British Empire of three millions of colonists in 
1776, we do not see why it should not justify the secession of 

'New York Tribune, November 9, 1861. 
*/6i(i., November 36. 


five millions of Southrons from the Union in 1861.'" In Jan- 
uary, he recanted in a measure. Yet, on February 23, he an- 
nounced that "Whenever it shall be clear that the great body 
of the Southern people have become conclusively alienated 
from the Union, and anxious to escape from it, we will do our 
best to forward their views."^ 

Henry Ward Beecher^ and the Garrison Abolitionists' also 
inclined to this view ; and, in November and December, a few 
Eepublicans, because of a general repugnance to the coercion 
of a State, did not despise it. Naturally, however, the Gree- 
ley policy did not please the great bulk of Lincoln's intelli- 
gent supporters. The belief obtained that, the election hav- 
ing been fair and constitutional, the South ought to submit 
to the decision as readily as Northern Democrats acquiesced 
in it. Besides, a spontaneous feeling existed that the 
United States was a nation, that secession was treason, and 
seceders were traitors. Such people sighed for "an hour of 
Andrew Jackson ;" and, to supply the popular demand, Jack- 
son's proclamation against the nullifiers, written by Edward 
Livingston, a native of New York, then secretary of state, 
was published in a cheap and convenient edition. To the 
readers of such literature Greeley's peaceable secession 
seemed like the erratic policy of an eccentric thinker, and its 
promulgation, especially when it began giving comfort and 
encouragement to the South, contributed not a little to the 
defeat of its author for the United States Senate in the 
following February. 

Thurlow Weed also had a plan, which quickly attracted 
the attention of people in the South as well as in the North. 
He held that suggestions of compromise which the South 
could accept might be proposed without dishonour to the 
victors in the last election, and, in several carefully written 


" New York TriJnine, December 17. " Ibid., February 23. 

' Ibid., November 30. "In so far as the Free States are concerned," 
he said, "I hold that it will be an advantage for the South to go 

" The Liberator, November and December. 


editorials in the Evening Journal, he argued in favour of re- 
storing the old line of the Missouri Compromise, and of sub- 
stituting for the fugitive slave act, payment, for rescued 
slaves by the counties in which the violation of law occurred. 
"When we refer, as we often do, triumphantly to the example 
of England," he said, "we are prone to forget that emancipa- 
tion and compensation were provisions of the same act of 

Weed was now sixty-three years of age — not an old man, 
and of little less energy than in 1824, when he drove about 
the State in his first encounter with Martin Van Buren. The 
success of the views he had fearlessly maintained, in defiance 
of menacing opponents, had been achieved in full measure, 
and he had reason to be proud of his conspicuous part in the 
result; but now, in the presence of secession which threat- 
ened the country because of that success, he seemed suddenly 
to revolt against the policy he himself had fostered. As his 
biographer expressed it, "he cast aside the weapons which 
none could wield so well,"" and, betraying the influences of 
his early training under the great Whig leaders, began to 
show his love for the Union after the manner of Clay and 

Weed outlined his policy with rare skill, hoping that the 
discussion provoked by it might result in working out some 
plan to avoid disunion." Raymond, in the Times, and Webb 
in the Courier, gave it cordial support ; the leading New York 
business men of all parties expressed themselves favourable 
to conciliation and compromise. "I can assure you," wrote 
August Belmont to Governor Sprague of Rhode Island, on 
December 13, "that all the leaders of the Republican party 
in our State and city, with a few exceptions of the ultra 
radicals, are in favour of concessions, and that the popular 
mind of the North is ripe for them." On December 19 he 
wrote again: "Last evening I was present at an informal 

" Albany Evening Journal, November 26, 1860. 

"> Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 306. 

" Albany Evening Journal, December 1, 1860. 


meeting of about thirty gentlemen, comprising our leading 
men, Republicans, Union men, and Democrats, composed of 
such names as Astor, Aspinwall, Moses H. Grinnell, Hamil- 
ton Fish, R. M. Blatchford, &c. They were unanimous in 
their voice for reconciliation, and that the first steps have 
to be taken by the North."" 

Belmont undoubtedly voiced the New York supporters of 
Douglas, Breckenridge, and Bell, and many conservative Re- 
publicans, representing the business interests of the great 
metropolis; but the bulk of the Republicans did not like a 
plan that overthrew the corner-stone of their party, which had 
won on its opposition to the extension of slavery into free ter- 
ritory. To go back to the line of 36° 30', permitting slavery 
to the south of it, meant the loss of all that had been gained, 
and a renewal of old issues and hostilities in the near future. 
Republican congressmen from the State, almost without ex- 
ception, yielded to this view, voicing the sentiment that it 
was vain to temporise longer with compromises. With fluent 
invective, James B. McKean of Saratoga assailed the South 
in a speech that recalled the eloquence of John W. Taylor, his 
distinguished predecessor, who, in 1820, led the forces of free- 
dom against the Missouri Compromise. "The slave-holders," 
he said, "have been fairly defeated in a presidential election. 
They now demand that the victors shall concede to the van- 
quished all that the latter have ever claimed, and vastly more 
than they could secure when they themselves were victors. 
They take their principles in one hand, and the sword in the 
other, and reaching out the former they say to us, 'Take 
these for your own, or we will strike.' "" 

'■Letters of August Belmont, privately printed, pp. 15, 16. 

" Congressional Glote, 1860-61, Appendix, p. 221. "Never, with my 
consent, shall the Constitntion ordain or protect human slavery 
in any territory. Where it exists by law I will recognise it, bnt 
never shall it be extended over one acre of free territory." Speech 
of James Humphrey of Brooklyn. — Ibid., p. 158. "Why should we 
now make any concessions to them? With our experience of the 
little importance attached to former compromises by the South, it 
is ridiculous to talk about entering into another. The restoration 


Nevertheless, Weed kept at work. In an elaborate article, 
he suggested a "Convention of the people consisting of dele- 
gates appointed by the States, to which North and South 
might bring their respective griefs, claims, and reforms to 
a common arbitrament, to meet, discuss, and determine upon 
a future. It will be said that we have done nothing wrong, 
and have nothing to offer. This is precisely why we should 
both purpose and offer whatever may, by possibility, avert 
the evils of civil war and prevent the destruction of our hith- 
erto unexampled blessings of Union."" 

Preston King, the junior United States senator from New 
York, clearly voicing the sentiment of the majority of his 
party in Congress and out of it, bitterly opposed such a pol- 
icy. "It cannot be done," he wrote Weed, on December 7. 
"You must abandon your position. It will prove distasteful 
to the majority of those whom you have hitherto led. You 
and Seward should be among the foremost to brandish the 
lance and shout for joy."^° To this the famous editor, giving 
a succinct view of his policy, replied with his usual direct- 
ness. "I have not dreamed of anything inconsistent with 
Republican duty. We owe our existence as a party to the 

ol the Missouri line, with the protection of slavery south of it, will 
not save the Union." Speech of John B. Haskin of Fordham. — 
Ibid., p. 264. "The people of the North regard the election of Mr. 
Lincoln as the assurance that the day of compromise has ended; 
that henceforth slavery shall have all the consideration which is 
constitutionally due it and no more; that freedom shall have all its 
rights recogrnised and respected." Speech of Charles L. Beale of 
Kinderhook. — Ibid., p. 974. "We of the North are called upon 
to save the Union by making concessions and giving new 
guarantees to the South. . . . But I am opposed to tinkering 
with the Constitution, especially in these exciting times. I am 
satisfied with it as it is." Speech of Alfred Ely of Kochester. — Ibid., 
Appendix, p. 243. "I should be opposed to any alteration of the 
Constitution which would extend the area of slavery." Speech of 
Luther C. Carter of Flushing. — Ibid., p. 278. "I am opposed to all 
changes in the Constitution whatever." Edwin R. Reynolds of Al- 
bion.— Z6i(f., p. 1008. 

"Albany Hvening Journal, November 30, 1860. 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 309. 


repeal of the Missouri Compromise. But for the ever blind 
spirit of slavery, Buchanan would have taken away our am- 
munition and spiked our guns. The continued blindness of 
Democracy and the continued madness of slavery enabled us 
to elect Lincoln. That success ends our mission so far as 
Kansas and the encroachments of slavery into free territory 
are concerned. We have no territory that invites slavery for 
any other than political objects, and with the power of terri- 
torial organisation in the hands of Lincoln, there is no politi- 
cal temptation in all the territory belonging to us. The flght 
is over. Practically, the issues of the late campaign are ob- 
solete. If the Republican members of Congress stand still, 
we shall have a divided North and a united South. If they 
move promptly, there will be a divided South and a united 

It is not, perhaps, surprising that Weed found so much to 
say in favour of his proposition, since the same compromise 
and the same arguments were made use of a few weeks later 
by no less a person than the venerable John J. Crittenden of 
Kentucky, the Nestor of the United States Senate. Critten- 
den was ten years older than Weed, and, like him, was actu- 
ated by sincere patriotism. Although his compromise 
contained six proposed amendments to the Constitution, it 
was believed that all differences between the sections could 
easily be adjusted after the acceptance of the first article, 
which recognised slavery as existing south of latitude 36° 30', 
and pledged it protection "as property by all the de- 
partments of the territorial government during its contin- 
uance." The article also provided that States should be ad- 
mitted from territory either north or south of that line, with 
or without slavery, as their constitutions might declare.^^ 
This part of the compromise was not new to Congress or to 
the country. It had been made, on behalf of tjie South, in 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 309. 

"The full text of the Crittenden compromise is given in the 
Congressional Globe, 1861, p. 114; also in Horace Greeley's American 
Conflict, Vol. 1, p. 376. 


1847, and defeated by a vote of 114 to 82, only four Northern 
Democrats sustaining it. It was again defeated more deci- 
sively in 1848, when proposed by Douglas. "Thus the North," 
wrote Greeley, "under the lead of the Republicans, was 
required, in 1860, to make, on pain of civil war, concessions 
to slavery which it had utterly refused when divided only 
between the conservative parties of a few years before."^' 

Nevertheless, the Crittenden proposition invoked the same 
influences that supported the Weed plan. "I would most 
cheerfully accept it," wrote John A. Dix. "I feel a strong 
confidence that we could carry three-fourths of the States in 
favour of it as an amendment to the Constitution."^' Au- 
gust Belmont said he had "yet to meet the first conservative 
Union-loving man, in or out of politics, who does not ap- 
prove of your compromise propositions. ... In our own 
city and State some of the most prominent men are ready 
to follow the lead of Weed. Restoration' of the Missouri line 
finds favour with most of the conservative Republicans, and 
their number is increasing daily."^" Belmont, now more than 
earlier in the month, undoubtedly expressed a ripening senti- 
ment that was fostered by the gloomy state of trade, creating 
feverish conditions in the stock market, forcing New York 
banks to issue clearing-house certificates, and causing a 
marked decline in the Republican vote at the municipal elec- 
tion in Hudson.^^ Indeed, there is abundant evidence that 
the Crittenden proposition, if promptly carried out in De- 
cember, might have resulted in peace. The Senate committee 
of thirteen to whom it was referred — consisting of two sen- 
ators from the cotton States, three from the border States, 
three Northern Democrats, and five Republicans — decided 
that no report should be adopted unless it had the assent of 
a majority of the Republicans, and also a majority of the 
eight other members. Six of the eight voted for it. All the 

"Horace Greeley, The American Conflict, Vol. 1, pp. 378, 379. 
" Coleman, Life of John J. Crittenden, Vol. 2, p. 237. 
^ Letters of August Belmont, privately printed, p. 24. 
° Horace Greeley, The American Conflict, Vol. 1, p. 362. 


Republicans, and JefEerson Davis and Robert Toombs, repre- 
senting the cotton States, voted against it. The evidence 
however, is almost convincing that Davis and Toombs would 
have supported it in December if the Republicans had voted 
for it. In speeches in the open Senate, Douglas declared it,^^ 
Toombs admitted it,°^ and Davis implied it.** Seward 
sounds the only note of their insincerity. "I think," he said, 
in a letter to the President-elect, "that Georgia, Alabama, 
Mississippi, and Louisiana could not be arrested, even if we 
should offer all you suggest, and with it the restoration of 
the Missouri Compromise line. But persons acting for those 
States intimate that they might be so arrested, because they 
think that the Republicans are not going to concede the res- 
toration of that line."^° It is likely Seward hesitated to be- 
lieve that his vote against the compromise, for whatever rea- 
son it was given, helped to inaugurate hostilities; and yet 
nothing is clearer, in spite of his letter to Lincoln, than that 
in December the Republicans defeated the Crittenden com- 
promise, the adoption of which would have prevented civil 

In deference to the wishes of Lincoln and of his friends, 
who were grooming him for United States senator, Greeley, 

" "In the committee of thirteen, a few days ago, every member 
from the South, including those from the cotton States, expressed 
their readiness to accept the proposition of my venerable friend 
from Kentucky as a final settlement of the controversy, if tendered 
and sustained by the Republican members." Douglas in the Senate, 
January 3, 1861. — Congressional Olohe, Appendix, p. 41. 

^ "I said to the committee of thirteen, and I say here, that, with 

other satisfactory provisions, I would accept it." Toombs in the 

Senate, January 7, 1861. — Glohe, p. 270. "I can confirm the Senator's 

declaration that Senator Davis himself, when on the committee of 

thirteen, was ready, at all times, to compromise on the Crittenden 

proposition. I will go further and say that Mr. Toombs was also." 

Douglas in the Senate, March 2, 1861. — Glohe, p. 1391. , 

^' See Davis's speech of January 10, 1861. Congressional Globe, p. 

"Nicolay and Hay, Abraliam Lincoln, Vol. 3, p. 263. Letter to 

Lincoln, December 26, 1860. 

" James F. Rhodes, History of the United States, Vol. 3, p. 155. 


before the end of December, had, in a measure, given up his 
damaging doctrine of peaceable secession, and accepted the 
"no compromise" policy, laid down by Benjamin F. Wade, 
as "the only true, the only honest, the only safe doctrine."*^ 
It was necessary to Greeley's position just then, and to the 
stage of development which his candidacy had reached, that 
he should oppose Weed's compromise. On the 22d of Decem- 
ber, therefore, he wrote the President-elect: "I fear noth- 
ing, care for nothing, but another disgraceful backdown of 
the free States. That is the only real danger. Let the Union 
slide — it may be reconstructed; let Presidents be assassin- 
ated — we can elect more; let the Republicans be defeated 
and crushed — ^we shall rise again. But another nasty com- 
promise, whereby everything is conceded and nothing se- 
cured, will so thoroughly disgrace and humiliate us that we 
can never raise our heads, and this country becomes a second 
edition of the Barbary States, as they were sixty years ago. 
'Take any form but that.' "^* On the same day the Tribune 
announced that "Mr. Lincoln is utterly opposed to any con- 
cession or compromise that shall yield one iota of the posi- 
tion occupied by the Republican party on the subject of sla- 
very in the territories, and that he stands now, as he stood in 
May last, when he accepted the nomination for the Presi- 
dency, square upon the Chicago platform.'"" Thus Lincoln 
had reassured Greeley's shrinking faith, and thenceforward 
his powerful journal took a more healthy and hopeful tone.'" 
Meantime, Weed laboured for the Crittenden compromise. 
He went to Washington, interviewed Republican members 
of Congress, and finally visited Lincoln at Springfield. Tick- 
ling the ear with a pleasing sentiment and alliteration, he 
wanted Republicans, he said, "to meet secession as patriots 
and not as partisans."'^ He especially urged forbearance 

"New York Tribune, December 19, 1860. 

^ Nicolay and Hay, AbraJiam Lincoln, Vol. 3, p. 258. 

"New York Tribune, December 22, 1860. 

" Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 3, p. 258. 

''Ibid., p. 261. 


and concession out of consideration for Union men in South- 
ern States. "Apprehending that we should be called upon 
to test the strength of the Government," he wrote, on January 
9, 1861, "we saw, what is even more apparent now, that the 
effort would tax all its faculties and strain all its energies. 
Hence our desire before the trial came to make up a record 
that would challenge the approval of the world. This was 
due not less to ourselves than to the Union men of Southern 
States, who, with equal patriotism and more of sacrifice, 
amidst the pitiless peltings of the disunion storm, sought, 
like the dove sent out from the ark, a dry spot on which to 
set their feet.'"^ 

Weed's sincerity remained unquestioned, and his opinion, 
so ardently supported outside his party, would probably have ■ 
had weight within his party under other conditions ; but the 
President-elect, with his mind inflexibly made up on the ques- 
tion of extending slavery into the territories, refused to yield 
the cardinal principle of the Chicago platform. "Entertain 
no proposition for a compromise in regard to the extension 
of slavery," he wrote, December 11, to William Kellogg, a 
member of Congress from Illinois. "The instant you do, they 
have us under again; all our labour is lost, and sooner or 
later must be done over. . . . The tug has to come, and 
better now than later. You know I think the fugitive slave 
clause of the Constitution ought to be enforced — ^to put it in 
its mildest form, ought not to be resisted."'^ Two days later, 
in a letter to E. B. Washburne, also an Illinois member of 
Congress, he objected to the scheme for restoring the Mis- 
souri Compromise line. "Let that be done and immediately 
filibustering and extending slavery recommences. On that 
point hold firm as a chain of steel."^* To Weed himself, on 
December 17, he repeated the same idea in almost the identi- 
cal language. ^= 

*" Albany Evening Journal, January 9, 1861. 

'^Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 3, p. 259. 

^'lUd., Vol. 3, p. 259. 

^ Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, pp. 310, 311. 


Thurlow Weed was a journalist of pre-eminent ability, 
and, although a strenuous, hard hitter, who gave everybody 
as much sport as he wanted, he was a fair fighter, whom the 
bitterest critics of the radical Republican press united in 
praising for his consistency; but his epigrams and incisive 
arguments, sending a vibrating note of earnestness across 
the Alleghaiijles, could not move the modest and, as yet, un- 
known man of the West, who, unswayed by the fears of Wall 
Street, and the teachings of the great Whig compromisers, 
saw with a statesman's clearness the principle that explained 
the reason for his party's existence. 



While the contest over secession was raising its crop of 
disturbance and disorder at Washington, newspapers and 
politicians in the North continued to discuss public questions 
from their party standpoints. Republicans inveighed against 
the madness of pro-slavery leaders, Democrats berated Re- 
publicans as the responsible authors of the perils darkening 
the national skies, and Bell men sought for a compromise. 
Four days after the election of Lincoln, the Albany Argus 
clearly and temperately expressed the view generally taken 
of the secession movement by Democratic journals of New 
York. "We are not at all surprised at the manifestations 
of feeling at the South," it said. "We expected and predicted 
it; and for so doing were charged by the Republican press 
with favouring disunion ; while, in fact, we simply correctly 
appreciated the feeling of that section of the Union. We 
sympathise with and justify the South, as far as this — their 
rights have been invaded to the extreme limit possible within 
the forms of the Constitution ; and, if we deemed it certain 
that the real animus of the Republican party could become 
the permanent policy of the nation, we should think that 
all the instincts of self-preservation and of manhood right- 
fully impelled them to resort to revolution and a separation 
from the Union, and we would applaud them and wish them 
God-speed in the adoption of such a remedy."^ ' 

' Albany Argus, November 10, 1860. On November 12 the Eoehester 
Union arg^ued that the threatened secession of the slave States was 
but a counterpoise of the personal liberty bills and other measures 



This was published in the heat of party conflict and- Demo- 
cratic defeat, when writers assumed that a compromise, if 
any adjustment was needed, would, of course, be forthcoming 
as in 1850. A little later, as conditions became more threat- 
ening, the talk of peaceable secession growing out of a disin- 
clination to accept civil war, commended itself to persons 
who thought & peaceful dissolution of the Union, if the slave- 
holding South should seek it, preferable to such an alterna- 
tive.^ But as the spectre of dismemberment of the nation 
came nearer, concessions to the South as expressed in the 
Weed plan, and, later, in the Crittenden compromise, com- 
mended itself to a large part of the people. A majority of 
the voters at the preceding election undoubtedly favoured 
such an adjustment. The votes cast for Douglas, Bell, and 
Breckenridge in the free States, with one-fourth of those cast 
for Lincoln, and one-fourth for Breckenridge in the slave 
States, making 2,848,792 out of a total of 4,662,170, said a 
writer in Appleton's Gyclopcedia, "were overwhelmingly in 
favour of conciliation, forbearance, and compromise."^ 
Rhodes, the historian, approving this estimate, expresses the 
belief that the Crittenden compromise, if submitted to the 
people, would have commanded such a vote.* 

In the closing months of 1860, and the opening months of 
1861, this belief dominated the Democratic party as well as 
a large number of conservative Republicans ; but, as the win- 
ter passed without substantial progress toward an effective 
compromise, the cloud of trouble assumed larger proportions 
and an alarmist spirit spread abroad. After Major Ander- 
son, on the night of December 27, had transferred his com- 
mand from its exposed position at Fort Moultrie to the 
stronger one at Fort Sumter, it was not uncommon to hear 
upon the streets disloyal sentiments blended with those of 

of antag-onism to slave-holding- at the North. See, also, the New 
York Herald, November 9. 

' Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. Diac, Vol. 1, p. 338. 

' Appleton's Gyclopcedia, 1861, p. 700. 

* James F. Ehodes, History of the United States, Vol. 3, p. 261, note. 


willing sacrifice to maintain the Union. This condition was 
accentuated by the action of the Legislature, which convened 
on January 2, 1861, with twenty-three Republicans and nine 
Democrats in the Senate, and ninety-three Republicans and 
thirty-five Democrats in the House. In his message, Gov- 
ernor Morgan urged moderation and conciliation. "Let New 
York," he said, "set an example ; let her oppose no barrier, 
but let her representatives in Congress give ready support 
to any just and honourable sentiment; let her stand in hos- 
tility to none, but extend the hand of friendship to all, cor- 
dially uniting with other members of the Confederacy in 
proclaiming and enforcing a determination that the Consti- 
tution shall be honoured and the Union of the States be 

On January 7, five days after this dignified and conserva- 
tive appeal, Fernando Wood, imitating the example of South 
Carolina, advocated the secession of the city from the State. 
"Why should not New York City," said the Mayor, as if play- 
ing the part of a satirist, "instead of supporting by her con- 
tributions in revenue two-thirds of the expenses of the United 
States, become, also, equally independent? As a free city, 
with a nominal duty on imports, her local government could 
be supported without taxation upon her people. . . 
Thus we could live free from taxes, and have cheap goods 
nearly duty free. . . . When disunion has become a fixed 
and certain fact, why may not New Y'ork disrupt the bands 
which bind her to a venal and corrupt master — to a people 
and a party that have plundered her revenues, attempted to 
ruin her commerce, taken away the power of self-government, 
and destroyed the confederacy of which she was the proud 
empire city."° 

By order of a sympathising common council, this absurd 
message, printed in pamphlet form, was distributed among 
the people. Few, however, took it seriously. "Fernando 
Wood," said the Tribune, "evidently wants to be a traitor; 

"Proceedings of the Board of Aldermen, LXXXI: p. 25, 26. 
New York Herald, January 8. 


it is lack of courage only that makes him content with being 
a blackguard."" The next day Confederate forts fired 
upon the Star of the West while endeavouring to convey 
troops and supplies to Fort Sumter. 

The jar of the Mayor's message and the roar of hostile guns 
were quickly followed by the passage, through the Legisla- 
ture, of a concurrent resolution, tendering the President 
"whatever aid in men and money may be required to enable 
him to enforce the laws and uphold the authority of the 
Federal Government ; and that, in the defence of the Union, 
wMch has conferred prosperity and happiness upon the 
American people, renewing the pledge given and redeemed 
by our fathers, we are ready to devote our fortunes, our lives, 
and our sacred honour."^ This resolution undoubtedly ex- 
pressed the overwhelming preponderance of sentiment in the 
State,' but its defiant tone, blended with the foolish words 
of Wood and the menacing act of South Carolina, called 
forth greater efforts for compromise, to the accomplishment 
of which a mammoth petition, signed by the leading business 
men of the State, was sent to Congress, praying that 
"measures, either of direct legislation or of amendment of 
the Constitution, may be speedily adopted, which, we are as- 
sured, will restore peace to our agitated country."* 

On January 18, a meeting of the merchants of New York 
City, held in the Chamber of Commerce, unanimously 
adopted a memorial, addressed to Congress, urging the ac- 

' New York Triiune, January 8, 1861. 

' Appletan's Cyclopwdia, 1861, p. 700. 

' "The whole people in this part of the country are waiting- with 
impatience for your assumption of the great office to which the 
suffrage of a free people has called you, and will hail you as a 
deliverer from treason and anarchy. In New York City all classes 
and parties are rapidly uniting in this sentiment, and here in Al- 
bany, where I am spending a few days in attendance upon Court, 
the general tone of feeling and thinking about public affairs shows 
little difference between Bepublicans and Democrats." — W. M. 
Evarts to Abraham Lincoln, January 15, 1861. Unpublished letter 
on file in Department of State at Washington. 

' Appleton's Cyclopadia, 1861, p. 520. 


ceptance of the Crittenden compromise. Similar action to 
maintain peace in an honourable way was taken in other 
cities of the State, while congressmen were daily loaded with 
appeals favouring any compromise that would keep the 
peace. Among other petitions of this character, Elbridge 
G. Spaulding presented one from Buffalo, signed by Millard 
Fillmore, Henry W. Rogers, and three thousand others. On 
January 24, Governor Morgan received resolutions, passed 
by the General Assembly of Virginia, inviting the State, 
through its Legislature, to send commissioners to a peace 
conference to be held at Washington on February 4. Noth- 
ing had occurred in the intervening weeks to change the sen- 
timent of the Legislature, expressed earlier in the session; 
but, after much discussion and many delays, it was resolved, 
in acceding to the request of Virginia, that "it is not to be 
understood that this Legislature approves of the propositions 
submitted, or concedes the propriety of their adoption by the 
proposed convention. But while adhering to the position she 
has heretofore occupied, New York will not reject an invita- 
tion to a conference, which, by bringing together the men of 
both sections, holds out the possibility of an honourable set- 
tlement of our national diflSculties, and the restoration of 
peace and harmony to the country." 

The balloting for commissioners resulted in the election of 
David Dudley Field, William Curtis Noyes, James S. Wads- 
worth, James C. Smith, Amaziah B. James, Erastus Corn- 
ing, Francis Granger, Greene C. Bronson, William E. Dodge, 
John A. King, and John E. Wool, with the proviso, however, 
that they were to take no part in the proceedings unless a 
majority of the non-slave-holding States were represented. 
The appearance of Francis Granger upon the commission 
was the act of Thurlow Weed. Granger, happy in his retire- 
ment at Canandaigua, had been out of oflSce and out of poli- 
tics so many years that, as he said in a letter to the editor 
of the Evening Journal, "it is with the greatest repugnance 
that I think of again appearing before the public."^" But 
'° Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 3, p. 317. 


Weed urged him, and Granger accepted "the flattering hon- 
Qyj. "11 TiiQg^ after many years of estrangement, the leader 
of the Woolies clasped hands again with the chief of the 

Though a trifling event in itself, the detention of thirty- 
eight boxes of muskets by the New York police kept the 
people conscfous of the strained relations between the States. 
The ownership of the guns, left for shipment to Savannah, 
would ordinarily have been promptly settled in a local court ; 
but the detention now became an affair of national impor- 
tance, involving the governors of two States and leading to 
the seizure of half a dozen merchant vessels lying peacefully 
at anchor in Savanah harbour. Instead of entering the 
courts, the consignor telegraphed the consignees of the "seiz- 
ure," the consignees notified Governor Brown of Georgia, 
and the Governor wired Governor Morgan of New York, de- 
manding their immediate release. Receiving no reply to his 
message. Brown, in retaliation, ordered the seizure of all ves- 
sels at Savannah belonging to citizens of New York. Al- 
though Governor Morgan gave the affair no attention beyond 
advising the vessel owners that their rights must be prose- 
cuted in the United States courts, the shipment of the mus- 
kets and the release of the vessels soon closed the incident; 
but Brown's indecent zeal to give the episode an international 
character by forcing into notice the offensive assumption 
of an independent sovereignty, had much influence in harden- 
ing the "no compromise" attitude of many Northern people. 

Nevertheless, the men of New York who desired peace on 
any honourable terms, seemed to grow more earnest as the 
alarm in the public mind became more intense. South Caro- 
lina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi 
had now seceded, and, as a last appeal to them, a monster 
and notable Union meeting, held at Cooper Institute on Jan- 
uary 28 and addressed by eminent men of all parties, desig- 
nated James T. Brady, Cornelius K. Garrison, and Appleton 
Oaksmith, as commissioners to confer with delegates to the 
" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 318. 


conventions of these seceding States "in regard to measures 
best calculated to restore the peace and integrity of this 
Union." ^^ Scarcely had the meeting adjourned, however, be- 
fore John A. Dix, as secretary of the treasury, thrilled the 
country by his fearless and historic dispatch, "If any one at- 
tempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the 

Dix had brought to the Cabinet the training of a soldier 
and of a wise, prudent, sagacious statesman of undaunted 
courage and integrity. With the exception of his connection 
with the Barnburners in 1848, he had been an exponent of the 
old Democratic traditions, and, next to Horatio Seymour, 
did more, probably, than any other man to bring about a re- 
union of his party in 1852. Nevertheless, the Southern poli- 
ticians never forgave him. President Pierce offered him the 
position of secretary of state, and then withdrew it with the 
promise of sending him as minister to France ; but the South 
again defeated him. From that time until his appointment 
as postmaster of New York, following the discovery, in May, 
1860, of Isaac V. Fowler's colossal defalcation," Dix had 
taken little part in politics. If the President, however, 
needed a man of his ability and honesty in the crisis precipi- 
tated by Fowler's embezzlement, such characteristics were 
more in demand, in January, 1861, at the treasury, when the 
government was compelled to pay twelve per cent, for a loan 
of five millions, while New York State sevens were taken at 
an average of 101 1-4.^* Bankers refused longer to furnish 
money until the Cabinet contained men upon whom the 

" Appleton's Cyclopadia, 1861, p. 520. 

" Fowler, who was appointed postmaster of New York by Presi- 
dent Pierce, began a system of embezzlements in 1855, which 
amounted, at the time of his remoTal, to $155,000. — Report of Post- 
master-General Holt, Senate Document, 36th Confess, 1st Session, 
XI., 48. "In one year Fowler's bill at the New York Hotel, which 
he made the Democratic headquarters, amounted to $25,000. His 
brother, John Walker Fowler, clerk to Surrogate Tucker, sub- 
sequently absconded with $31,079, belonging to orphans and others." 
— Gustavus Myers, History of Tammany Hall, pp. 232, 233. 

"John Jay Knox, United States Notes, p. 76. 


friends of the government and the Union could rely, and 
Buchanan, yielding to the inevitable, appointed the man 
clearly indicated by the financiers.^' 

Although now sixty-three years old, with the energy and 
pluck of his soldier days, Dix had no ambition to 
be in advance of his party. He favoured the Crit- 
tenden com'promise, advocated Southern rights under 
the limits of the Constitution, and wrote to leaders in 
the South with the familiarity of an old friend. "I 
recall occasions," wrote his son, "when my father 
spoke to me on the questions of the day, disclosing the grave 
trouble that possessed his thoughts. On one such occasion 
he referred to the possibility that New York might become a 
free city, entirely independent, in case of a general break- 
up;^' not that he advocated the idea, but he placed it in the 
category of possibilities. It was his opinion that a separa- 
tion, if sought by the South through peaceful means alone, 
must be conceded by the North, as an evil less than that of 
war. . . . Above all else, however, next to God, he loved 
the country and the flag. He did everything in his power to 
avert the final catastrophe. But when the question was" re- 
duced to that simple, lucid proposition presented by the lead- 
ers of secession, he had but one answer, and gave it with an 
emphasis and in words which were as lightning coming out 
of the east and shining even unto the west."^^ 

"New York Evening Post, December 26, 1860. 

"On Tuesday, January 8, my father received a dispatch from the 
President to come at once to the White House. He went immedi- 
ately and was offered the War Department. This he declined, in- 
forming' Mr. Buchanan, as had been agreed upon, that at that 
moment he could be of no service to him in any position except that 
of the Treasury Department, and that he would accept no other post. 
The President asked for time. The following day he had Mr. Philip 
Thomas's resignation in his hand, and sent General Dix's name to 
the Senate. It was instantly confirmed." — Morgan Dix, Memoirs 
cf John A. Dix, Vol. 1, p. 362. 

" The plan advocated by Fernando Wood in his annual message 
to the Common Council, referred to on p. 348. 

" Morgan Dix, Memoirs of John A. Dix, Vol. 1, pp. 336, 343. 


From the day of his appointment to the Treasury to the 
end of the Administration, Dix resided at the White House 
as the guest of the President, and under his influence, coupled 
with that of Black, Holt, and Stanton, Buchanan assumed a 
more positive tone in dealing with secession. Heretofore, 
with the exception of Major Anderson's movements at Fort 
Sumter, and Lieutenant Slemmer's daring act at Fort Pick- 
ens, the seizure of federal property had gone on without 
opposition or much noise ; but now, at last, a prominent New 
Yorker, well known to every public man in the State, had 
flashed a patriotic order into the heart of the Southern Con- 
federacy, startling the country into a realising sense of the 
likelihood of civil war. 

In the midst of this excitement, a state convention, called 
by the Democratic state committee and composed of four 
delegates from each assembly district, representing the party 
of Douglas, of Breckenridge, and of Bell and Everett, assem- 
bled at Albany on January 31. Tweddle Hall was scarcely 
large enough to contain those who longed to be present at 
this peace conference. Of the prominent public men of the 
Commonwealth belonging to the three parties, the major 
part seemed to make up the assemblage, which Greeley pro- 
nounced "the strongest and most imposing ever convened 
within the State."" On the platform sat Horatio Seymour, 
Amasa J. Parker, and William Kelley, the Softs' recent can- 
didate for governor, while half a hundred men flanked them 
on either side, who had been chosen to seats in Congress, in 
the Legislature, and to other places of honour. "No conven- 
tion which had nominations to make, or patronage to dispose 
of, was ever so influentially constituted."" 

Sanford E. Church of Albion became temporary chairman, 
and Amasa J. Parker, president. Parker had passed his day 
of running for ofiSce, but, still in the prime of life, only flfty- 
four years old, his abilities ran with swiftness along many 
channels of industry. In stating the object of the conven- 

" Horace Greeley, The American Conflict, Vol. 1, p. 388. 
"Ibid., p. 388. 


tion, the vociferous applause which greeted his declaration 
that the people of the State, demanding a peaceful settle- 
ment of the questions leading to disunion, have a right to 
insist upon conciliation and compromise, disclosed the al- 
most unanimous sentiment of the meeting; but the after-dis- 
cussion developed differences that anticipated the disruption 
that was to dome to the Democratic party three months later. 
One speaker justified Southern secession by urgent consider- 
ations of necessity and safety; another scouted the idea of 
coercing a seceding State; to a third, peaceful separation, 
though painful and humiliating, seemed the only safe and 
honourable way. Reuben H. Walworth, the venerable ex- 
chancellor, declared that civil war, instead of restoring the 
Union, would forever defeat its reconstruction. "It would be 
as brutal," he said, "to send men to butcher our own brethren 
of the Southern States, as it would be to massacre them in 
the Northern States." 

Horatio Seymour received the heartiest greeting. Whether 
for good or evil, according to the standards by which his 
critics may judge him, he swayed the minds of his party to a 
degree that was unequalled among his contemporaries. For 
ten years his name had been the most intimately associated 
with party policies, and his influence the most potent. The 
exciting events of the past three months, with six States out 
of the Union and revolution already begun, had profoundly 
stirred him. He had followed the proceedings of Congress, 
he had studied the disposition of the South, he understood 
the sentiment in the North, and his appeal for a compromise, 
without committing himself to some of the extravagances 
which were poured forth in absolute good faith by Walworth, 
earned him enthusiastic commendation from friends and ad- 
mirers. "The question is simply this," he said ; "Shall we 
have compromise after war, or compromise without war?" 
He eulogised the valour of the South, he declared a blockade 
of its extended sea coast nearly impossible, he hinted that 
successful coercion by the North might not be less revolu- 
tionary than successful secession by the South, he predicted 


the ruin of Northern industries, and he scolded Congress, 
urging upon it a compromise — not to pacify seceding States, 
but to save border States. "The cry of 'No compromise' is 
false in morals," he declared; "it is treason to the spirit of 
the Constitution; it is infidelity in religion; the cross itself 
is a compromise, and is pleaded by many who refuse all char- 
ity to their fellow-citizens. It is the vital principle of social 
existence; it unites the family circle; it sustains the church, 
and upholds nationalities. . . . But the Republicans 
complain that, having won a victory, we ask them to sur- 
render its fruits. We do not wish them to give up any po- 
litical advantage. We urge measures which are demanded by 
the hour and the safety of our Union. Are they making sac- 
rifices, when they do that which is required by the common 

It remained for George W. Clinton of Buffalo, the son of the 
illustrious DeWitt Clinton, to lift the meeting to the higher 
plane of genuine loyalty to the Union. Clinton was a Hard 
in politics. He had stood with John A. Dix and Daniel S. 
Dickinson, had been defeated for lieutenant-governor on 
their ticket, and had supported Breckenridge ; but when the 
fateful moment arrived at which a decision had to be made 
for or against the country, his genius, like the prescience of 
Dix, guided him rightly. "Let us conciliate our erring breth- 
ren," he said, "who, under a strange delusion, have, as they 
say, seceded from us ; but, for God's sake, do not let us hum- 
ble the glorious government under which we have been so 
happy and which will yet do so much for the happiness of 
mankind. Gentlemen, I hate to use a word that will offend 
my Southern brother, but we have reached a time when, as 

" Albany Argus, February 1, 1861. 

William H. Russell, correspondent of the London Times, who dined 
■with Horatio Seymour, Samuel J. Tilden and George i^ancroft, wrote 
that "the result left on my mind by their conversation and argu- 
ments was that, according to the Constitution, the government could 
not employ force to prevent secession, or to compel States which 
had seceded by the will of the people to acknowledge the federal 
power." — Entry March 17, Diary, p. 20. 

1861] GEOKGE W. CLINTON 357 

a man — if you please, as a Democrat — I must use plain 
terms. There is no such thing as legal secession. The Con- 
stitution of these United States was intended to form a firm 
and perpetual Union. If secession be not lawful, then, what 
is it? I use the term reluctantly but truly — it is rebellion! 
rebellion against the noblest government man ever framed 
for his own "benefit and for the benefit of the world. What 
is it — this secession ? I am not speaking of the men. I love 
the men, but I hate treason. What is it but nullification by 
the wholesale? I have venerated Andrew Jackson, and my 
blood boiled, in old time, when that brave patriot and soldier 
of Democracy said — 'the Union, it must and shall be pre- 
served.' (Loud applause.) Preserve it? Why should we 
preserve it, if it would be the thing these gentlemen would 
make it? Why should we love a government that has no dig- 
nity and no power? Look at it for a moment. Congress, for 
just cause, declares war, but one State says, 'War is not for 
me — I secede.' And so another and another, and the govern- 
ment is rendered powerless. I am not prepared to humble the 
general government at the feet of the seceding States. I am 
unwilling to say to the government, 'You must abandon your 
property, you must cease to collect the revenues, because you 
are threatened.' In other words, gentlemen, it seems to me — 
and I know I speak the wishes of my constituents — ^that, 
while I abhor coercion, in one sense, as war, I wish to pre- 
serve the dignity of the government of these United States 
as well."" 

^ Horace Greeley, The American Conflict, Vol. 1, p. 394. 

"When rebellion actually began many loyal Democrats came nobly 
out and planted themselves by the side of the country. But those 
who dung to the party organisation, what did they do? A month 
before Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated they held a state convention for 
the Democratic party of the State of New York. It was said it 
was to save the country, — it was whispered it was to save the party. 
The state committee called it and representative men gathered to 
attend it. . . . They applauded to the echo the very blasphemy 
of treason, but they attempted by points of order to silence DeWitt 
Clinton's son because he dared to raise his voice for the Constitu- 
tion of his country and to call rebellion by its proper name." — 


The applause that greeted these loyal sentences disclosed 
a patriotic sentiment, which, until then, had found no op- 
portunity for expression; yet the convention, in adopting a 
series of resolutions, was of one mind on the question of sub- 
mitting the Crittenden compromise to a direct vote of the 
people. "Their voice," said the chairman, "will be omnipres- 
ent here, and if it be raised in time it may be effectual 

There is something almost pathetic in the history of these 
efforts which were made during the progress of secession, to 
avert, if possible, the coming shock. The great peace confer- 
ence, assembled by the action of Virginia, belongs to 
these painful and wasted endeavours. On February 4, the 
day that delegates from six cotton States assembled at Mont- 
gomery to form a Southern confederacy, one hundred and 
thirty-three commissioners, representing twenty-one States, 
of which fourteen were non-slave-holding, met at Washing- 
ton and continued in session, sitting with closed doors, until 
the 27th. It was a body of great dignity — a "fossil conven- 
tion," the Tribune called it — whose proceedings, because of 
the desire in the public mind to avoid civil war, attracted 
wide attention. David Dudley Field represented New York 
on the committee on resolutions, which proposed an amend- 
ment of seven sections to the Constitution. On February 26, 
these were taken up in their order for passage. The first sec- 
tion provided for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise 
line under the then existing conditions, provided that when- 
ever a new State was formed north or south of that line it 
should be admitted with or without slavery, as its constitu- 
tion might declare. This was the important concession ; but, 
though it was less favourable to the South than the Crittenden 
compromise, it failed to satisfy the radical Republicans, who 
had from the first opposed the convention. Accjordingly, the 
vote, taken by States, stood eight to eleven against it. New 
York being included among the noes. The next morning, 

Speech of Roseoe Conkling-, September 26, 1862, A. K. Conkling-, Life 
and Letters of Roseoe Conkling, p. 180. 


however, after agreeing to a reconsideration of the question, 
the convention passed the section by a vote of nine to eight. 
New York, divided by the absence of David Dudley Field, be- 
ing without a voice in its determination. Field never fully 
recovered from this apparent breach of trust.^^ In commit- 
tee, he had earnestly opposed the proposed amendment, 
talking almost incessantly for three weeks, but, at the 
supreme moment, when the report came up for passage, he 
withdrew from the convention, without explanation, thus 
depriving his State of a vote upon all the sections save one, 
because of an evenly divided delegation. 

The convention, however, was doomed to failure before 
Field left it. Very early in its life the eloquent New Yorker, 
assisting to rob it of any power for good, declared his 
opposition to any amendment to the Constitution. "The 
Union," he said, "is indissoluble, and no State can secede. I 
will lay down my life for it. . . . We must have the 
arbitration of reason, or the arbitrament of the sword." 
Amaziah B. James, another New Yorker, possessed the same 
plainness of speech. "The North will not enter upon war 
until the South forces it to do so," he said, mildly. "But 
when you begin it, the government will carry it on until the 
Union is restored and its enemies put down."^^ If any 
stronger Union sentiment were needed, the remarks of 
Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, in disclosing the attitude of his 
party, supplied it. "The election of Lincoln," he said, "must 
be regarded as the triumph of principles cherished in the 
hearts of the people of the free States. Chief among these 
principles is the restriction of slavery within State limits; 
not war upon slavery within those limits, but fixed opposi- 
tion to its extension beyond them. By a fair and unques- 
tionable majority we have secured that triumph. Do you 

" See New York Tribune, March 23, 1861, for Field's statement in 
defence of his action. Also Tribune, March 7, for John A. King's 

"Lucius E. Chittenden, Report of Proceedings of Peace Conference, 
pp. 157, 170. 303, 428. 


think we, who represent this majority, will throw it away? 
Do you think the people would sustain us if we undertook to 
throw it away?"^* 

After three weeks of such talk, even Virginia, whose share 
in forming the Union exceeded that of any other State, 
manifested its discouragement by repudiating the proposed 
amendment as an insufficient guarantee for bringing back the 
cotton States or holding the border States. When, finally, on 
March 4, the result of the conference was offered in the 
United States Senate, only seven votes were cast in its fa- 
vour. So faded and died the last great effort for compromise 
and peace. For months it must have been apparent to every 
one that the party of Lincoln would not yield the corner- 
stone of its principles. It desired peace, was quick to co- 
operate, and ready to conciliate, but its purpose to preserve 
free territory for free labour remained fixed and unalterable. 

" Lucius E. Chittenden, Report of Proceedings of Peace Conference, 
p. 304. 




In the winter of 1860-61, while the country was drifting 
into civil war, a desperate struggle was going on at Albany 
to elect a United States senator in place of William H. Sew- 
ard, whose term expired on the fourth of March. After the 
defeat of the Senator at Chicago, sentiment settled upon his 
return to Washington; but when Lincoln ofiEered him the 
position of secretary of state, Thurlow Weed announced 
William M. Evarts as his candidate for the United States 
Senate. Evarts was now forty-three years of age. Born in 
Boston, a graduate of Yale, and of the Harvard law school, 
he had been a successful lawyer at the New York bar for 
twenty years. Union College had conferred upon him, in 
1857, the degree of Doctor of Laws, and the rare ability 
and marvellous persistence manifested in the Lemmon slave 
case, in which he was opposed by Charles O'Conor, had given 
abundant evidence of the great intellectual powers that 
subsequently distinguished him. He had, also, other claims 
to recognition. The wit and great learning that made him 
the most charming of conversationalists increased his popu- 
larity, while his love of books, his excellent taste, and good 
manners made him welcome in the club and the social circle. 
Indeed, he seems to have possessed almost every gift and 
grace that nature and fortune could bestow, giving him high 
place among his contemporaries. 

Evarts had not then held oflSce. The places that O'Conor 
and Brady had accepted presented no attractions for him; 
nor did he seem to desire the varied political careers that 
had distinguished other brilliant young members of the 



New York bar. But he had taken pleasure in bringing to 
his party a wisdom in council which was only equalled by 
his power in debate. If this service were insufficient to 
establish his right to the exalted preferment he now sought, 
his recent valuable work at the Chicago convention was 
enough to satisfy Thurlow Weed, at least, that generous 
assistance of such surpassing value should be richly re- 

Up to this time. Weed's authority in his party in the State 
had been supreme. He failed to have his way in 1846 when 
John Young seized the nomination for governor, and some 
confusion existed as to his influence in the convention that 
selected Myron Clark in 1854 ; but for all practical purposes 
Weed had controlled the Whig and Republican parties since 
their formation, almost without dissent. Circumstances 
sometimes favoured him. The hard times of 1837 made pos- 
sible Seward's election as governor; the split in the Demo- 
cratic party over the canal, and later over the Wilmot Pro- 
viso, secured Seward a seat in the United States Senate; and 
the sudden and wholly unexpected repeal of the Missouri 
Compromise defeated the Silver-Grays and aided in rapidly 
reducing the strength of the Know-Nothings ; but these 
changes in the political situation, although letting Weed's 
party into power, burdened his leadership with serious prob- 
lems. It required a master hand safely to guide a party be- 
tween the Radical and Abolition factions on one side and 
the Conservatives on the other, and his signal success com- 
mended him to President Lincoln, who frequently counselled 
with him, often inviting him to Washington by telegram dur- 
ing the darkest days of civil war. 

But the defection of Greeley, supplemented by William 
Cullen Bryant and the union of radical leaders who came 
from the Democratic party, finally blossomed into successful 
rebellion at Chicago. This encouraged Greeley to lead one at 
Albany. The Legislature had one hundred and sixteen Re 
publican members, requiring fifty-nine to nominate in cau- 
cus. Evarts could count on forty-two and Greeley upon 

1861] A BATTLE EOYAL 363 

about as many. In his effort to secure the remaining seven- 
teen, Weed discovered that Ira Harris had a considerable 
following, who were indisposed to affiliate with Evarts, while 
several assemblymen indicated a preference for other candi- 
dates. This precipitated a battle royal. Greeley did not per- 
sonally appear in Albany, but he scorned none of the ordi- 
nary crafts of party management. Charles A. Dana, then of 
the Tribune, represented him, and local leaders from various 
parts of the State rallied to his standard and industriously 
prosecuted his canvass. Their slogan was "down with the 
Dictator." It mattered not that they had approved Weed's 
management in the past, their fight now proposed to end the 
one-man power, and every place-hunter who could not secure 
patronage under Lincoln's administration if Evarts went to 
the Senate, ranged himself against Weed. On the side of 
the Tribune's editor, also, stood the independent, whose dis- 
like of a party boss always encourages him to strike when- 
ever the way is open to deal an effective blow. This was Gree- 
ley's great strength. It marshalled itself. 

Weed summoned all his hosts. Moses H. Grinnell, Simeon 
Draper, and A. Oakey Hall led the charge, flanked by a 
cloud of state and county officials, and an army of politicians 
who filled the hotels and crowded the lobbies of the capitol. 
The Tribune estimated Evarts' backers at not less than one 
thousand.' For two weeks the battle raged with all the char- 
acteristics of an intense personal conflict. Greeley declared 
it "a conflict which was to determine whether a dynasty was 
to stand and give law to its subjects, or be overthrown and 
annihilated. Fully appreciating this, not Richmond at Bos- 
worth Field, Charles at Naseby, nor Napoleon at Waterloo 
made a more desperate fight for empire than did the one-man 
power at Albany to retain the sceptre it has wielded for so 
many years over the politics and placemen of this State."^ 
In their desperation both sides appealed to the President- 
elect, who refused to be drawn into the struggle. "Justice 

' New York Tribune, February 5, 1861. 
'Ibid'., February 5, 1861. 


to all" was his answer to Weed. "I have said nothing more 
particular to any one."' 

As the canvass grew older, it hecame known that several 
of Harris' supporters would go to Greeley whenever their as- 
sistance would nominate him. This sacrifice, however, was 
not to be made so long as Harris held the balance of power ; 
and since Weed's desire to defeat Greeley was well under- 
stood, Harris counted with some degree of certainty upon 
Evarts' supporters whenever a serious break threatened. 
Weed's relations with Harris were not cordial. For years 
they had lived in Albany, and as early as 1846 their ways 
began to diverge; but Harris' character for wisdom, learn 
ing, and integrity compelled respect. He had been an as- 
semblyman in 1844 and 1845, a state senator in 1846, a dele- 
gate to the constitutional convention of 1846, and a 
justice of the Supreme Court from 1847 to 1859. His name 
was familiar throughout the State. From the time he took 
up the cause of the Anti-Renters in 1846 he had possessed 
the confidence of the common people, and his great fairnes^ 
and courtesy upon the bench had added largely to his repu- 
tation. He was without any pretence to oratory. The gifts 
that made Evarts a leader of the New York bar for three 
decades did not belong to him ; but everybody knew that in 
the United States Senate he would do as much as Evarts to 
uphold President Lincoln. 

The caucus convened on the evening of February 4. Only 
one member was absent. Weed and Evarts sat with Gov- 
ernor Morgan in the executive chamber — Harris in the rooms 
of Lieutenant-Governor Campbell at Congress Hall. The first 
ballot gave Evarts 42, Greeley 40, Harris 20, with 13 scatter- 
ing. Bets had been made that Evarts would get 50, and some 
over-sanguine ones fixed it at 60. What Weed expected does 
not appear; but the second ballot, which reduced Evarts to 
39 and raised Greeley to 42, did not please Speaker Little- 
john, who carried orders between the executive and assembly 
chambers. It seemed to doom Evarts to ultimate defeat. The 
' Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 324. 


chamber grew dark with the gloomy frowns of men who had 
failed to move their stubborn representatives. The next four 
ballots, quickly taken, showed little progress, but the seventh 
raised Greeley to 47 and dropped Harris to 19, while Evarts 
held on at 39. An assurance that the object of their labours 
would be reached with the assistance of some of Harris' votes 
on the next ballot, made the friends of Greeley jubilant. It 
was equally apparent to the astonished followers of the grim 
manager who was smoking vehemently in the executive 
chamber, that Evarts would be unable to weather another 
ballot. A crisis, therefore, was inevitable, but it was the 
crisis for which Weed had been waiting and watching, 
and without hesitation he sent word to elect Harris.* 
This settled it. Greely received 49, Harris 60, with 6 
scattering. Weed did not get all he wanted, but he got 

There were reasons other than revenge, however, that in- 
duced men vigorously opposed to secession to resent the 
candidacy of Horace Greeley.° The editor of the Tribune 
certainly did not want the Southern States to secede, nor 
did he favour secession, as has often been charged, but his 
peculiar treatment of the question immediately after the 
November election gave the would-be secessionists comfort, 
if it did not absolutely invite and encourage the South to 
believe in the possibility of peaceable secession. 

Greeley seems to have taken failure with apparent seren- 
ity. He professed to regard it as the downfall of Weed 

' "Pale as ashes, Weed sat smoking a cigar within earshot of the 
bustle in the crowded assembly room where the caucus sat. Little- 
john stalked over the heads of the spectators and reported to Weed. 
Unmindful of the fact that he had a cigar in his mouth, Weed 
lighted another and put it in, then rose in great excitement and 
said to Littlejohn, 'Tell the Evarts men to go right over to Harris — 
to Harris — to Habris!' The order was given in the caucus. They 
wheeled into line like Napoleon's Old Guard, and Harris was nomi- 
nated." — H. B. Stanton, Random Recollections, p. 218. 

' "It is quite possible that the Tribune's articles of November, 1860, 
cost Greeley the senatorship." — James F. Bbodes, History of the 
United States, Vol. 3, p. 142. 


rather than the defeat of himself. His friends who knew of 
the antagonistic relations long existing between Harris and 
Weed, said the Tribune, exultingly, were willing to see Har- 
ris nominated, since "he would become an agent for the ac- 
complishment of their main purpose — the overthrow of the 
dictatorship, and the establishment upon its ruins of the 
principle of political independence in thought and action."" 
But whatever its influence upon Weed, the nomination of 
Harris was a bitter disappointment to Greeley. He was ex- 
traordinarily ambitious for public preferment. The char- 
acter or duties of the office seemed to make little difference 
to him. Congressman, senator, governor, lieutenant-governor, 
comptroller of state, and President of the United States, at 
one time or another greatly attracted him, and to gain any 
one of them he willingly lent his name or gave up his time; 
but never did he come so near reaching the goal of his ambi- 
tion as in February, 1861. The promise of Harris' supporters 
to transfer their votes encouraged a confidence that was not 
misplaced. The Greeley men were elate, the more ardent 
entertaining no doubt that the eighth ballot would bring 
victory; and, had Weed delayed a moment longer, Greeley 
must have been a United States senator. But Weed did not 
delay, and Greeley closed his life with an office-holding record 
of ninety days in Congress. Like George Borrow, he seemed 
never to realise that his simple, clear, vigorous English was 
to be the crown of an undying fame.'' 

' New York Tribune, February 5, 1861. 

' "It Is one of the curiosities of human nature that Greeley, who 
exceeded in influence many of our Presidents, should have hankered 
so constantly for office. It is strange enough that the man who 
wrote as a dictator of public opinion in the Tribune on the 9th of 
November could write two days later the letter to Seward, dissolving 
the political firm of Seward, Weed, and Greeley. In that letter the 
petulance of the office-seeker is shown, and the gricYous disappoint- 
ment that he did not get the nomination for lieutenant-governor, 
which went to Baymond, stands out plainly." — James F. Khodes, 
History of the United States, Vol. 2. p. 72. 



As THE day approached for the opening of Congress on 
Monday, December 3, 1860, William H. Seward left Auburn 
for Washington. At this time he possessed the most power- 
ful influence of any one in the Republican party. While 
other leaders, his rivals in eloquence and his peers in ability, 
exercised great authority, the wisdom of no one was more 
widely appreciated, or more frequently drawn upon. "Sum- 
ner, Trumbull, and Wade," says McClure, speaking from 
personal acquaintance, "had intellectual force, but Trumbull 
was a judge rather than a politician. Wade was oppressively 
blunt, and Sumner cultivated an ideal statesmanship that 
placed him outside the line of practical politics. Fessenden 
was more nearly a copy of Seward in temperament and dis- 
cretion, but readily conceded the masterly ability of his col- 
league. Seward was not magnetic like Clay or Blaine, but 
he knew how to make all welcome who came within range 
of his presence."^ 

Thus far, since the election, Seward had remained silent 
upon the issues that now began to disturb the nation. Writ- 
ing to Thurlow Weed on November 18, 1860, he declared he 
was "without schemes or plans, hopes, desires, or fears for 
the future, that need trouble anybody so far as I am con- 
cerned."^ Nevertheless, he had scarcely reached the capital 
before he discovered that he was charged with being the 
author of Weed's compromise policy. "Here's a muss," he 

'Alex. K. McClure, Recollections of Half a Century, pp. 213, 214. 
= F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 478. 


368 LBSfCOLN, SEWAUD, AKD THE UlSnOlSr [Chap, xxvra. 

wrote, on December 3. "Republican members stopped at the 
Tribune office on their way, and when they all lamented your 
articles, Dana told them they were not yours but mine ; that 
I 'wanted to make a great compromise like Clay and 
Webster.' "^ 

To Republicans it did not seem possible that Weed's plan 
of conciliation, so carefully and ably presented, could be pub- 
lished without the assistance, or. at least, the approval of his 
warm personal and political friend, — an impression that 
gained readier credence because of the prompt acquiescence 
of the New York Times and the Courier. Seward, however, 
quickly punctured Charles A. Dana's misinformation, and 
continued to keep his own counsels. "I talk very little, 
and nothing in detail," he wrote his wife, on December 2; 
^'but I am engaged busily in studying and gathering my 
thoughts for the Union."* To Weed, on the same day, he 
gave the political situation. "South Carolina is committed. 
Georgia will debate, but she probably follows South Carolina. 
Mississippi and Alabama likely to follow. . . . Members 
are coming in, all in confusion. Nothing can be agreed on in 
advance, but silence for the present, which I have insisted 
must not be sullen, as last year, but respectful and 

Seward, who had now been in Washington several days, 
had not broken silence even to his Republican colleagues in 
the Senate, and "to smoke him out," as one of them expressed 
it, a caucus was called. But it failed of its purpose. "Its 
real object," he wrote Weed, "was to find out whether I au- 
thorised the Evening Journal, Times, and Courier articles. 
I told them they would know what I think and what I pro- 
pose When I do myself. The Republican party to-day is as 
uncompromising as the secessionists in South Carolina. A 
month hence each may come to think that ipoderation is 

^ Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 308. 

* F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 479. 

° Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, pp. 307, 308. 

• Ibid., Vol. 2. p. 308. 


It is not easy to determine from his correspondence just 
what was in Seward's mind from the first to the thirteenth 
of December, but it is plain that he was greatly disturbed. 
Nothing seemed to please him. Weed's articles perplexed^ 
him; his colleagues distrusted' him; the debates in the 
Senate were hasty and feeble ; * few had any courage or con- 
fidence in thfe Union ; ^° and the action of the Sumner radicals 
annoyed him.^^ Rhodes, the historian, says he was waver- 
ing.12 He was certainly waiting, — probably to hear from 
Lincoln ; but while he waited his epigrammatic criticism of 
Buchanan's message, which he wrote his wife on Decem- 
ber 5, got into the newspapers and struck a popular note. 
"The message shows conclusively," he said, "that it is 

' "Weed's articles have brought jjerplexities about me which he, 
■with all his astuteness, did not foresee." — ^P. W. Seward, Life of W. 
H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 480. 

° "Our senators agree with me to practise reticence and kindness. 
But others fear that I will figure, and so interfere and derange all." 
— Ibid., p. 480. 

' "The debates in the Senate are hasty, feeble, inconclusive and 
unsatisfactory; presumptuous on the part of the ill-tempered 
South; feeble and frivolous on the part of the North." — Ihid., 
p. 481. 

""All is apprehension about the Southern demonstrations. No 
one has ajiy system, few any courage, or confidence in the Union, 
In this emergency." — Ihid., p. 478. 

"' "Charles Sumner's lecture in New York brought a 'Barnburner' 
or Buffalo party around him. They gave nine cheers for the passage 
in which he describes Lafayette as rejecting all and every com- 
promise, and the knowing ones told him those cheers laid out Thur- 
low Weed, and then he came and told me, of course." — Thurlow 
Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 308. 

^ "While the evidence is not positive that Seward contemplated 
heading a movement of Republicans that would have resulted in the 
acceptance by them of a plan similar in essence to the Crittenden 
compromise, yet his private correspondence shows that he was 
wavering, and gives rise to the belief that the pressure of Weed, 
Eaymond, and Webb would have outweighed that of his radical 
Eepublican colleagues if he had not been restrained by the un- 
equivocal declarations of Lincoln." — James F. Bhodes, History of 
the United States, Vol. 3, p. 157. 


the duty of the President to execute the laws — unless some- 
body opposes him ; and that no State has a right to go out 
of the Union — unless it wants to."^* 

On December 13 Seward received the desired letter from 
the President-elect, formally tendering him the office of 
secretary of state. The proffer was not unexpected. Press 
and politicians had predicted it and conceded its propriety. 
"From the day of my nomination at Chicago," Lincoln said, 
in an informal and confidential letter of the same day, "it 
has been my purpose to assign you, by your leave, this place 
in the Administration. I have delayed so long to communi- 
cate that purpose, in deference to what appeared to me a 
proper caution in the case. Nothing has been developed to 
change my view in the premises; and I now offer you 
the place in the hope that you will accept it, and with 
the belief that your position in the public eye, your integrity, 
ability, learning, and great experience all combine to render 
it an appointment pre-eminently fit to be made."" 

In the recent campaign Seward had attracted such atten- 
tion and aroused such enthusiasm, that James Russell Lowell 
thought his magnanimity, since the result of the convention 
was known, a greater ornament to him and a greater honour 
to his party than his election to the Presidency would have 
been."'" Seward's friends had followed his example. "We 
all feel that New York and the friends of Seward have acted 
nobly," wrote Leonard Swett to Weed."'" A month after 
the offer of the portfolio had been made, Lincoln wrote Sew- 
ard that "your selection for the state department having be- 
come public, I am happy to find scarcely any objection to it. 
I shall have trouble with every other cabinet appointment — 
so much so, that I shall have to defer them as long as possi- 
ble, to avoid being teased into insanity, to make changes."'^ 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 48*0. 

" Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 3, p. 349. 

"Atlantic Monthly, October, 1860; Loicell's Political Essays, p. 34. 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 301. 

" F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. U. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 493. 


In 1849, Seward had thought the post of minister, or 
even secretary of state, without temptations for him, but, in 
1860, amidst the gathering clouds of a grave crisis, the cham- 
pionship of the Union in a great political arena seemed to 
appeal, in an exceptional degree, to his desire to help guide 
the destinies of his country; and, after counselling with 
Weed at AlbAny, and with his wife at Auburn, he wrote the 
President-elect that he thought it his duty to accept the ap- 
pointment."" Between the time of its tender and of its ac- 
ceptance Seward had gained a clear understanding of Lin- 
coln's views ; for, after his conference with Weed, the latter 
visited Springfield and obtained a written statement from 
the President-elect. This statement has never appeared in 
print, but it practically embodied the sentiment written Kel- 
logg and Washburn, and which was received by them after 
Seward left Washington for Auburn. 

With this information the Senator returned to the capital, 
stopping over night at the Astor House in New York, where 
he unexpectedly found the New England Society celebrating 
Forefathers' Day. The knowledge of his arrival quickly 
reached the banqueters. They knew that Weed had seen Lin- 
coln, and that, to hear the tidings from Springfield, Seward 
had travelled with his friend from Syracuse to Albany. 
Eagerly, therefore, they pressed him for a speech, for words 
spoken by the man who would occupy the first place in Lin- 
coln's Cabinet, meant to the business men of the great me- 
tropolis, distracted by the disturbed conditions growing out 
of the disunion movement, words of national salvation. Sew- 
ard never spoke from impulse. He understood the value of 
silence and the necessity of thought before utterance. All of 
his many great speeches were prepared in a most painstak- 
ing manner. But, as many members of the society were per- 
sonal or political friends, he consented to address them, talk- 
ing briefly and with characteristic optimism, though without 
disclosing Lincoln's position or his own on the question of 
compromise. "I know that the necessities which created this 
"F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, pp. 481, 487. 


Union," he said, in closing, "are stronger to-day than they 
■were when the Union was cemented; and that these necessi- 
ties are as enduring as the passions of men are short-lived 
and effervescent. I believe that the cause of secession was as 
strong, on the night of November 6, when the President and 
Vice President were elected, as it has been at any time. Some 
fifty days have now passed ; and I believe that every day the 
sun has set since that time, it has set upon mollified passions 
and prejudices; and if you will only await the time, sixty 
more suns will shed a light and illuminate a more cheerful 

This speech has been severely criticised for its unseemly 
jest, its exuberant optimism, and its lack of directness. It 
probably discloses, in the copy published the next morning, 
more levity than it seemed to possess when spoken, with its 
inflections and intonations, while its optimism, made up of 
hopeful generalities which were not true, and of rhetorical 
phrases that could easily be misapprehended, appeared to 
sustain the suggestion that he did not realise the critical 
juncture of afifairs. But the assertion that he predicted the 
"war will be over in sixty days" was a ridiculous perversion 
of his words. No war existed at that time, and his "sixty 
suns" plainly referred to the sixty days that must elapse be- 
fore Lincoln's inauguration. Nevertheless, the "sixty days 
prediction," as it was called, was repeated and believed for 
many years. 

The feature of the speech that makes it peculiarly interest- 
ing, however, is its strength in the advocacy of the Union. 
Seward believed that he had a difficult role to play. Had he 
so desired he could not support the restoration of the Mis- 
souri Compromise line, for the President-elect had ruled in- 
flexibly against it ; neither could he openly oppose it, lest it 
hurry the South into some overt act of treason before Lin- 
coln's inauguration. So he began exalting the Union, skil- 
fully creating the impression, at least by inference, that he 
would not support the compromise, although his hearers and 
" New York Times, December 34, 1860. 


readers held to the belief that he would have favoured it 
had he not submitted to Lincoln's leadership by accepting 
the state department. 

During Seward's absence from Washington he was placed 
upon the Senate committee of thirteen to consider the Crit- 
tenden compromise. It was admitted that the restoration of 
the Missouri line was the nub of the controversy ; that, unless 
it could be accepted, compromise would fail ; and that failure 
meant certain secession. War of a most bitter and sanguin- 
ary character will be sure to follow," wrote Senator Grimes 
of Iowa.'"' "The heavens are, indeed, black," said Dawes of 
Massachusetts, "and an awful storm is gathering. I am well- 
nigh appalled at its awful and inevitable consequences."-^ 
Seward did not use words of such alarming significance, but 
he appreciated the likelihood of secession. On December 26 
he wrote Lincoln that "sedition will be growing weaker and 
loyalty stronger every day from the acts of secession as they 
occur;" but, in the same letter, he added: "South Carolina 
has already taken the attitude of defiance. Georgia, Ala- 
bama, Mississippi, and Louisiana have pushed on to the same 
attitude. I think that they could not be arrested, even if we 
should offer all you suggest, and with it the restoration of 
the Missouri Compromise line."^^ To his wife, also, to whom 
alone he confided his secret thoughts, he wrote, on the same 
day: "The South will force on the country the issue that 
the free States shall admit that slaves are property, and treat 
them as such, or else there will be a secession."^^ 

Nevertheless, the Republican senators of the committee of 
thirteen, inspired by the firm attitude of Lincoln, voted 
against the first resolution of the Crittenden compromise. 
They consented that Congress should have no power either to 
abolish slavery in the District of Columbia without compen- 

'» William Salter, Life of James W. Grimes, p. 132. Letter of Decem- 
ber 16, 1860. 
^New York Tribune, December 24, 1860. 
" F. W. Seward. Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 485. 
'*IMd., p. 486. 


sation and the consent of its inhabitants, or to prohibit the 
transportation of slaves between slave-holding States and 
territories; but they refused to protect slavery south of the 
Missouri line, especially since such an amendment, by includ- 
ing future acquisitions of territory, would, as Lincoln de- 
clared, popularise filibustering for all south of us. "A year 
will not pass till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition 
upon which they will stay in the Union.""* 

Upon the failure of the Crittenden compromise, Seward, on 
the part of the Republicans, offered five propositions, declar- 
ing (1) that the Constitution should never be altered so as 
to authorise Congress to abolish or interfere with slavery in 
the States; (2) that the fugitive slave law should be amended 
by granting a jury trial to the fugitive; (3) that Congress 
recommend the repeal by the States of personal liberty acts 
which contravene the Constitution or the laws; (4) that Con- 
gress pass an eflflcient law for the punishment of all persons 
engaged in the armed invasion of any State from another; 
and (5) to admit into the Union the remaining territory be- 
longing to the United States as two States, one north and 
one south of the parallel of 36° 80', with the provision that 
these States might be subdivided and new ones erected there- 
from whenever there should be sufficient population for one 
representative in Congress upon sixty thousand square 
miles.^' Only the first of these articles was adopted. South- 
ern Democrats objected to the second on principle, and to the 
third on the ground that it would affect their laws imprison- 
ing coloured seamen, while they defeated the fourth by 
amending it into Douglas' suggestion for the revival of the 
sedition law of John Adams' administration.'* This made 
it unacceptable to the Republicans. The fifth failed because 
it gave the South no opportunity of acquiring additional 
slave lands. On December 28, therefore, the conynittee, after 
adopting a resolution that it could not agree, closed its 

-'Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 3, p. 288. 

"Journal of the Committee of Thirteen, pp. 10, 13. 

=' F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 484. 


This seemed to Jefferson Davis, who, in 1860, had assumed 
the leadership laid down by John C. Calhoun in 1850, to end 
all effort at compromise, and, on January 10, 1861, in a care- 
fully prepared speech, he argued the right of secession. 
Finally, turning to the Republicans, he said: "Your plat- 
form on which you elected your candidate denies us equality. 
Your votes refuse to recognise our domestic institutions 
which pre-existed the formation of the Union, our property 
which was guarded by the Constitution. You refuse us that 
equality without which we should be degraded if we re- 
mained in the Union. You elect a candidate upon the basis 
of sectional hostility ; one who, in his speeches, now thrown 
broadcast over the country, made a distinct declaration of 
war upon our institutions. . . . What boots it to tell 
me that no direct act of aggression will be made? I prefer 
direct to indirect hostile measures which will produce the 
same result. I prefer it, as I prefer an open to a secret foe. 
Is there a senator upon the other side who to-day will agree 
that we shall have equal enjoyment of the territories of the 
United States? Is there one who will deny that we have 
equally paid in their purchases, and equally bled in their ac- 
quisition in war? Then, is this the observance of your con- 
tract? Whose is the fault if the Union be dissolved?"*^ 

The country looked to Seward to make answer to these 
direct questions. Southern States were hurrying out of the 
Union. South Carolina had seceded on December 20, Mis- 
sissippi on January 9, Florida on the 10th, and Alabama on 
the 11th. Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas were preparing to 
follow. The people felt that if a settlement was to come it 
must be made quickly. "Your propositions would have been 
most welcome if they had been made before any question of 
coercion, and before any vain boastings of powers," Davis 
had said. "But you did not make them when they would 
have been effective. I presume you will not make them 

If the position of the New York senator had been an embar- 

" Congressional Olobe, pp. ?,08, 309. =* lUd., p. 307. 


rassing one at the Astor House on December 22, it was much 
more difiQcult on January 12. He had refused to vote for the 
Crittenden compromise. Moreover, the only proposition 
he had to make stood rejected by the South. What could he 
say, therefore, that would settle anything? Yet the desire 
to hear him was intense. An eye-witness described the scene 
as almost unparalleled in the Senate. "By ten o'clock," 
wrote this observer, "every seat in the gallery was filled, and 
by eleven the cloak-rooms and all the passages were choked 
up, and a thousand men and women stood outside the doors, 
although the speech was not to begin until one o'clock. Sev- 
eral hundred visitors came on from Baltimore. It was the 
fullest house of the session, and by far the most respectful 
one.'"'" Such was the faith of the South in Seward's un- 
bounded influence with Northern senators and Northern 
people that the Richmond Whig asserted that his vote for 
the Crittenden compromise "would give peace at once to 
the country."'" 

Seward was not unmindful of this influence. "My own 
party trusts me," he wrote, "but not without reservation. 
All the other parties, North and South, cast themselves upon 
me."'^ Judged by his letters at this period, it is suggested 
that he had an overweening sense of his own importance ; he 
thought that he held in his hands the destinies of his coun- 
try.'^ However this may be, it is certain that he wanted to 
embarrass Lincoln by no obstacles of his making. "I must 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 493. 

"The Richmond Whig, January 17, 1861. 

" F. W. Seward, Ufe of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 494. 

"^ "I will try to save freedom and my country," Seward wrote his 
wife.— F. W. Seward, Life of W. B. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 487. "I have 
assumed a sort of dictatorship for defence, and am labouring night 
and day with the cities and States."— /Md., 491. "I am the only 
hopeful, calm, conciliatory person." — IMd., 497. "It seems to me 
that if I am absent only three days, this Administration, the Con- 
gress, and the district would fall into consternation and despair." — 
Ibid., 497. "The present Administration and the incoming one unite 
in devolving upon me the responsibility of averting civil war."— 
Ibid., 497. 


gain time," he said, "for the new Administration to organise 
and for the frenzy of passion to subside. I am doing this 
without making any compromise whatever, by forbearance, 
conciliation, magnanimity. What I say and do is said and 
done, not in view of personal objects, and I am leaving to 
posterity to decide upon my action and conduct."^^ 

In this spirit Seward made his speech of January 12. He 
discussed the fallacies of secession, showing that it had no 
grounds, or even excuse, and declaring that disunion must 
lead to civil war. Then he avowed his adherence to the 
Union in its integrity and in every event, "whether of peace 
or of war, with every consequence of honour or dishonour, of 
life or death," Eeferring to the disorder, he said : "I know 
not to what extent it may go. Still my faith in the Constitu- 
tion and in the Union abides. Whatever dangers there shall 
be, there will be the determination to meet them. Whatever 
sacrifices, private or public, shall be needful for the Union, 
they will be made. I feel sure that the hour has not come 
for this great nation to fall." 

In blazing the new line of thought which characterised his 
speech at the Astor House, Seward rose to the plane of higher 
patriotism, and he now broadened and enlarged the idea. 
During the presidential campaign, he said, the struggle had 
been for and against slavery. That contest having ended by 
the success of the Republicans in the election, the struggle 
was now for and against the Union. "Union is not more the 
body than liberty is the soul of the nation. Freedom can be 
saved with the Union, and cannot be saved without it." He 
deprecated mutual criminations and recriminations, a con- 
tinuance of the debate over slavery in the territories, the 
eflfort to prove secession illegal, and the right of the federal 
government to coerce seceding States. He wanted the Union 
glorified, its blessings exploited, the necessity of its existence 
made manifest, and the love of country substituted for the 
prejudice of faction and the pride of party. When this mil- 
lennial day had come, when secession movements had ended 
'^ F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 497. 


and the public mind had resumed its wonted calm, then a 
national convention might be called — say, in one, two, or 
three years hence, to consider the matter of amending the 

This speech was listened to with deep attention. "During the 
delivery of portions of it," said one correspondent, "senators 
were in tears. When the sad picture of the country, divided 
into confederacies, was given, Mr. Crittenden, who sat imme- 
diately before the orator, was completely overcome by his 
emotions, and bowed his white head to weep."'° The Tribune 
considered it "rhetorically and as a literary performance un- 
surpassed by any words of Seward's earlier productions,'"' 
and Whittier, charmed with its conciliatory tone, paid its 
author a noble tribute in one of his choicest poems." But 

'* New York Tribune, January 14, 1861. Seward's Works, Vol. 4, p. 

='F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 494, 
'"New York Tribune (editorial), January 14, 1861. 


"Statesman, I thank thee! — and if yet dissent 
Ming-les, reluctant, with my large content, 
I can not censure what was nobly meant. 
But while constrained to hold even Union less 
Than Liberty, and Truth, and Kig-hteousness, 
I thank thee, in the sweet and holy name 
Of Peace, for wise, calm words, that put to shame 
Passion and party. Courag-e may be shown 
Not in defiance of the wrong alone; 
He may be bravest, who, unweaponed, bears 
The olive branch, and strong in justice spares 
The rash wrong-doer, giving widest scope 
To Christian charitj"-, and generous hope. 
If without damage to the sacred cause 
Of Freedom, and the safeguard of its laws — 
If, without yielding that for which alone 
We prize the Union, thou canst save it now^ 
From a baptism of blood, upon thy brow 
A wreath whose flowers no earthly soil has known 
Woven of the beatitudes, shall rest; 
And the peace-maker be forever blest!" 


the country was disappointed. The Richmond Enquirer, rep- 
resenting the Virginia secessionists, maintained that it de- 
stroyed the last hope of compromise, because he gave up 
nothing, not even prejudices, to save peace in the Union. For 
the same reason. Union men of Kentucky and other border 
States turned from it with profound grief. On the other 
hand, the radical Republicans, disappointed that it did not 
contain more powder and shot, charged him with surrender- 
ing his principles and those of his party, to avert civil war 
and dissolution of the Union. But the later-day historian, 
however, readily admits that the rhetorical words of this ad- 
mirable speech had an effectual influence in making fidelity 
to the Union, irrespective of previous party affiliations, a 
rallying point for Northern men. 

As the recognised representative of the President-elect, 
Seward now came into frequent conference with loyal men 
of both sections and of all parties, including General Scott 
and the new members of Buchanan's Cabinet. John A. Dix 
had become secretary of the treasury, Edwin Stanton attor- 
ney-general, and Jeremiah S. Black secretary of state. Sew- 
ard knew them intimately, and with Black he conferred 
publicly. With Stanton, however, it seemed advisable to se- 
lect midnight as the hour and a basement as the place of 
conference. "At length," he wrote Lincoln, "I have gotten a 
position in which I can see what is going on in the councils 
of the President."^^ To his wife, he adds : "The revolution 
gathers apace. It has its abettors in the White House, the 
treasury, the interior. I have assumed a sort of dictatorship 
for defence."'* He advised the President-elect to reach Wash- 
ington somewhat earlier than usual, and suggested having 
his secretaries of war and navy designated that they might 
co-operate in measures for the public safety. Under his ad- 
vice, on the theory that the national emblem would 
strengthen wavering minds and develop Union sentiment, 
flags began to appear on stores and private residences. Sew- 

" r. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 488. 
"IMd., p. 490. 


ard was ablaze with zeal. "Before I spoke," he wrote Weed, 
"not one utterance made for the Union elicited a response. 
Since I spoke, every word for the Union brings forth a cheer- 
ing response."^" 

But, amidst it all, Seward's enemies persistently charged 
him with inclining to the support of the Crittenden compro- 
mise. "We have positive information from Washington," de- 
clared the Tribune, "that a compromise on the basis of Mr. 
Crittenden's is sure to be carried through Congress either 
this week or the next, provided a very few more Republicans 
can be got to enlist in the enterprise. . . . Weed goes 
with the Breckenridge Democrats. . . . The same is 
true, though less decidedly, of Seward."*^ It is probable that 
in the good-fellowship of after-dinner conversations Seward's 
optimistic words and "mysterious allusions,"*^ implied more 
than he intended them to convey, but there is not a private 
letter or public utterance on which to base the Tribune's 
statements. Greeley's attacks, however, became frequent 
now. Having at last swung round to the "no compromise" 

'" F. W. Seward, Life of W. 3. SetrariJ, Vol. 2, p. 497. 

"In regard to February, 1861, I need only say that I desired to 
avoid giving the secession leaders the excuse and opportunity to 
open the civil war before the new Administration and new Con- 
gress could be in authority to subdue it. I conferred throughout 
with General Scott, and Mr. Stanton, then in Mr. Buchanan's 
Cabinet. I presume I conversed with others in a way that seemed 
to me best calculated to leave the inauguration of a war to the 
secessionists, and to delay it, in any case, until the new Ad- 
ministration should be in possession of the Government. On the 
22d of February, in concert with Mr. Stanton, I caused the United 
States flag to be displayed throughout all the northern and western 
portions of the United States.'' Letters of W. H. Seward, June 13, 
1867. — ^William Schouler, Massachusetts in the Civil War, Vol. 1, pp. 
41, 42. 

" New York Tribune, January 29 and February 6^ 1861. 

" A writer in the North American Revieic (August, 1879, p. 135) 
speaks of the singular confidence of Siddon of Virginia (after- 
wards secretary of war of the Southern Confederacy) in Mr. 
Seward, and the mysterious allusions to the skilful plans maturing 
for an adjustment of sectional difficulties. 


policy of the radical wing of his party, he found it easy to 
condemn the attitude of Weed and the Unionism of Seward, 
against whom his lieutenants at Albany were waging a fierce 
battle for his election as United States senator. 

On January 31, Seward had occasion to present a petition, 
with thirty-eight thousand signatures, which William E. 
Dodge and other business men of New York had brought to 
Washington, praying for "the exercise of the best wisdom 
of Congress in finding some plan for the adjustment of the 
troubles which endanger the safety of the nation," and in 
laying it before the Senate he took occasion to make another 
plea for the Union. "I have asked them," he said, "that at 
home they act in the same spirit, and manifest their devo- 
tion to the Union, above all other interests, by speaking for 
the Union, by voting for the Union, by lending and giving 
their money for the Union, and, in the last resort, fighting 
for the Union — taking care, always, that speaking goes be- 
fore voting, voting goes before giving money, and all go be- 
fore a battle. This is the spirit in which I have determined 
for myself to come up to this great question, and to pass 
through it." 

Senator Mason of Virginia, declaring that "a maze of gen- 
eralities masked the speech," pressed Seward as to what he 
meant by "contributing money for the Union." Seward re- 
plied : "I have recommended to them in this crisis, that they 
sustain the government of this country with the credit to 
which it is entitled at their hands." To this Mason said : "I 
took it for granted that the money was to sustain the army 
which was to conduct the fight that he recommends to his 
people." Seward responded : "If, then, this Union is to stand 
or fall by the force of arms, I have advised my people to do, 
as I shall be ready to do myself — stand with it or perish with 
it." To which the Virginia Senator retorted : "The honour- 
able senator proposes but one remedy to restore this Union, 
and that is the ultima ratio regna." Seward answered 
quickly, "Not to restore — preserve !" 

Mason then referred to Seward's position as one of battle 


and bloodshed, to be fought on Southern soil, for the purpose 
of reducing the South to colonies. To Seward, who was still 
cultivating the attitude of "forbearance, conciliation, and 
magnanimity," this sounded like a harsh conclusion of the 
position he had sought to sugar-coat with much rhetoric, 
and, in reply, he pushed bloodshed into the far-ofiE future by 
restating what he had already declared in fine phrases, 
closing as follows : "Does not the honourable senator know 
that when all these [suggestions for compromise] have failed, 
then the States of this Union, according to the forms of the 
Constitution, shall take up this controversy about twenty- 
four negro slaves scattered over a territory of one million and 
fifty thousand square miles, and say whether they are willing 
to sacrifice all this liberty, all this greatness, and all this 
hope, because they have not intelligence, wisdom, and 
virtue enough to adjust a controversy so frivolous and 

Seward's speech plainly indicated a purpose to fight for the 
preservation of the Union, and his talk of first exhausting 
conciliatory methods was accepted in the South simply as a 
"resort to the gentle powers of seduction,"** but his argu- 
ment of the few slaves in the great expanse of territory 
sounded so much like Weed, who was advocating with re- 
newed strength the Crittenden plan along similar lines of 
devotion to the Union, that it kept alive in the North the im- 
pression that the Senator would yet favour compromise, and 
gave Greeley further opportunity to assail him. "Seward, 
in his speech on Thursday last," says the Tribune, "declares 
his readiness to renounce Republican principles for the sake 
of the Union."*' The next day his strictures were more 
pronounced. "The Republican party . . . is to be di- 
vided and sacrificed if the thing can be done. We are boldly 

" W. H. Seward, Works of, Vol. 4, p. 670. Congressional Oloie, 1861, 
p. 657. 

" "Oily Gammon Seward, aware that Intimidation will not do, 
is going' to resort to the gentle powers of seduction." — Washington 
correspondent of Charleston Mercury, February 19, 1861. 

"New York Tribune, February 4, 1861. 


told it must be suppressed, and a Union party rise upon its 
ruins."** Yet, in spite of such criticism, Seward bore himself 
with indomitable courage and with unfailing skill. Never 
during his whole career did he prove more brilliant and 
resourceful as a leader in what might be called an 
utterly hopeless parliamentary struggle for the preservation 
of the Unioil, and the highest tributes*' paid to his 
never-failing tact and temper during some of the most 
vivid and fascinating passages of congressional history, 
attest his success. It was easy to say, with Senator Chandler 
of Michigan, that "without a little blood-letting this Union 
will not be worth a rush,"**' but it required great skill to 
speak for the preservation of the Union and the retention of 
the corner-stone of the Republican party, without grieving 
the Unionists of the border States, or painfully affecting the 
radical Republicans of the Northern States. Seward knew 
that the latter censured him, and in a letter to the Indepen- 
dent he explains the cause of it. "Twelve years ago," he 
wrote, "freedom was in danger and the Union was not. I 
spoke then so singly for freedom that short-sighted men in- 
ferred that I was disloyal to the Union. To-day, practically, 
freedom is not in danger, and Union is. With the attempt 
to maintain Union by civil war, wantonly brought on, there 
would be danger of reaction against the Administration 
charged with the preservation of both freedom and Union. 
Now, therefore, I speak singly for Union, striving, if possi- 
ble, to save it peaceably; if not possible, then to cast the 

" New York Trihune, February 5, 1861. 

*" "I have rejoiced, as you of New York must certainly have 
done, in the spirit of conciliation which has repeatedly been mani- 
fested, during the present session of Congress, by your dis- 
tinguished senator. Governor Seward." Eobert C. Winthrop to the 
Constitutional Union Committee of Troy, February 17. — Winthrop's 
Addresses and Speeches, Vol. 2, p. 701. " If Mr. Seward moves in 
favour of compromise, the whole Eepublican party sways like a 
field of grain before his breath." Letter of Oliver Wendell Holmes, 
February 16, 1861. — Motley's Correspondence, Vol. 1, p. 360. 

"Detroit Post and Tribune; Life of Zachariah Chandler, p. 189. 


responsibility upon the party of slavery. For this 
singleness of speech I am now suspected of infidelity to 

Lincoln, after his arrival in Washington, asked Seward 
to suggest such changes in his inaugural address as he 
thought advisable, and in the performance of this delicate 
duty the New York Senator continued his policy of concilia- 
tion. ''I have suggested," he wrote, in returning the manu- 
script, "many changes of little importance, severally, but in 
their general effect, tending to soothe the public mind. Of 
course the concessions are, as they ought to be, if they are to 
be of avail, at the cost of the winning, the triumphant party. 
I do not fear their displeasure. They will be loyal whatever 
is said. Not so the defeated, irritated, angered, fren- 
zied party. . . . Your case is quite like that of Jeffer- 
son. He brought the first Republican party into power 
against and over a party ready to resist and dismember the 
government. Partisan as he was, he sank the partisan in the 
patriot, in his inaugural address ; and propitiated his adver- 
saries by declaring, 'We are all Federalists; all Republicans.' 
I could wish that yon would think it wise to follow this ex- 
ample, in this crisis. Be sure that while all your administra- 
tive conduct will be in harmony with Republican principles 
and policy, you cannot lose the Republican party by practis- 
ing, in your advent to ofBce, the magnanimity of a victor."'" 

Of thirty-four changes suggested by Seward, the President- 
elect adopted twenty-three outright, and based modifications 
on eight others. Three were ignored. Upon only one change 
did the Senator really insist. He thought the two paragraphs 
relating to the Republican platform adopted at Chicago 
should be omitted, and, in obedience to his judgment, Lincoln 
left them out. Seward declared the argument of the address 
strong and conclusive, and ought not in any way be 
changed or modified, "but something besides, or in addition 

"Letter to Dr. Thompson of the New York Independent. P. W. 
Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 507. 
» F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 512. 


to argument, is needful," he wrote in a postscript, "to meet 
and remove prejudice and passion in the South, and 
despondency and fear in the East. Some words of af- 
fection. Some of calm and cheerful confidence."^^ In line 
with this suggestion, he submitted the draft of two conclud- 
ing paragraphs. The first, "made up of phrases which had 
become extremely commonplace by iteration in the six years' 
slavery discussion," was clearly inadmissible.'^ The second 
was as follows : "I close. We are not, we must not be, aliens 
or enemies, but fellow countrymen and brethren. Although 
passion has strained our bonds of affection too hardly, they 
must not, I am sure they will not, be broken. The mystic 
chords which, proceeding from so many battle-fields and so 
many patriot graves, pass through all the hearts and all the 
hearths in this broad continent of ours, will yet again har- 
monise in their ancient music when breathed upon by the 
guardian angel of the nation." 

This was the germ of a fine poetic thought, says John Hay, 
that "Mr. Lincoln took, and, in a new development and per- 
fect form, gave to it the life and spirit and beauty which have 
made it celebrated." As it appears in the President-elect's 
clear, firm handwriting, it reads as follows : "I am loth to 
close. We are not enemies but friends. We must not be 
enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not 
break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, 
stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every 
living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will 
yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as 
surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."^' 

" F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 3, p. 513. 

" Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 3, p. 343, note. 

"' lUd., pp. 343, 344, and note. 

For facsimile of the paragraph as written by Seward and re- 
written by Lincoln, see IHd., Vol. 3, p. 336. For the entire address, 
■with all suggested and adopted changes, see Ibid., Vol. 3, pp. 327 to 

At Seward's dinner table on the evening of March 4, the per- 
oration of the inaugural address was especially commended by 


The spirit that softened Lincoln's inaugural into an appeal 
that touched every heart, had breathed into the debates of 
Congress the conciliation and forbearance that marked the 
divide between the conservative and radical Republi- 
can. This difference, at the last moment, occasioned Lincoln 
much solicitude. He had come to Washington v^ith his Cabi- 
net completed except as to a secretary of the treasury and a 
secretary of war. For the latter place Seward preferred 
Simon Cameron, and, in forcing the appointment by his pow- 
erful advocacy, he dealt a retributive blow to Governor Cur- 
tin of Pennsylvania, who had vigorously opposed him at Chi- 
cago and was now the most conspicuous of Cameron's foes.'** 
But Senator Chase of Ohio, to whom Seward strenuously 
objected because of his uncompromising attitude, was given 
the treasury. The shock of this defeat led the New York 
Senator to decline entering the Cabinet. "Circumstances 
which have occurred since I expressed my willingness to ac- 
cept the oflSce of secretary of state," he wrote, on March 2, 

A. Oakey Hall, afterward mayor of New York, who quickly put it 
into rhyme: 

"The mystic chords of Memory 

That stretch from patriot graves; 
From^ battle-fields to liTing hearts. 

Or hearth-stones freed from slaves. 
An Union chorus shall prolong, 

And grandly, proudly swell, 
When by those better angels touched 
Who in all natures dwell." 

" "Seward and his friends were greatly ofEended at the action of 
Curtin at Chicago. I was chairman of the Lincoln state com- 
mittee and fighting the pivotal struggle of the national battle, 
but not one dollar of assistance came from New York, and my 
letters to Thurlow Weed and to Governor Morgan, chairman of the 
national committee, were unanswered. .Seward largely aided the 
appointment of a Cabinet officer in Pennsylvania, 'who was the 
most conspicuous of Curtin's foes, and on Curtin's visit to Seward 
as secretary of state, he gave him such a, frigid reception that he 
never thereafter called at that department." — Alex. K. McClure, 
Recollections of Half a Century, p. 220. 


"seem to me to render it my duty to ask leave to withdraw 
that consent."^' 

The reception of the unexpected note sent a shiver through 
Lincoln's stalwart form. This was the man of men with 
whom for weeks he had confidentially conferred, and upon 
whose judgment and information he had absolutely relied 
and acted. '^I cannot afford to let Seward take the first 
trick," he said to his secretary,^* after pondering the matter 
during Sunday, and on Monday morning, while the inaugura- 
tion procession was forming, he penned a reply. "Your note," 
he said, "is the subject of the most painful solicitude with 
me ; and I feel constrained to beg that you will countermand 
the withdrawal. The public interest, I think, demands that 
you should ; and my personal feelings are deeply enlisted in 
the same direction. Please consider and answer by nine 
o'clock a. m. to-morrow." That night, after the day's pageant 
and the evening's reception had ended, the President and 
Seward talked long and confidentially, resulting in the lat- 
ter's withdrawal of his letter and his nomination and con- 
firmation as secretary of state. "The President is determined 
that he will have a compound Cabinet," Seward wrote his 
wife, a few days after the unhappy incident; "and that it 
shall be peaceful, and even permanent. I was at one time 
on the point of refusing — ^nay, I did refuse, for a time, to 
hazard myself in the experiment. But a distracted country 
appeared before me, and I withdrew from that position. I 
believe I can endure as much as any one ; and may be that T 
can endure enough to make the experiment successful.'"*^ 

''Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 3, p. 370. 

''Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 371. 

" F. W. Se-ward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 518. 




The story of the first forty days of Lincoln's administra- 
tion is one of indecent zeal to obtain oflSce. A new party had 
come into power, and, in the absence of any suggestion of 
civil service, patronage was conceded to the political victors. 
OflSce-seekers in large numbers had visited Washington in 
1841 after the election of President Harrison, and, in the 
change that followed the triumph of Taylor in 1848, Seward, 
then a new senator, complained of their pernicious activity. 
Marcy as secretary of state found them no less numerous and 
insistent in 1853 when the Whigs again gave way to the 
Democrats. But never in the history of the country had such 
a cloud of applicants settled down upon the capital of the 
nation as appeared in 1861. McClure, an eye-witness of the 
scene, speaks of the "mobs of oflSce-seekers,"^ and Edwin M. 
Stanton, who still remained in Washington, wrote Bu- 
chanan that "the scramble for office is terrific. Every depart- 
ment is overrun, and by the time all the patronage is dis- 
tributed the Republican party will be dissolved."^ Schuyler 
Colfax declared to his mother that "it makes me heart-sick. 
All over the country our party is by the ears, fighting for of- 
fices."^ Seward, writing to his wife on March 16, speaks of 
the affliction. "My duties call me to the White House one, 
two, or three times a day. The grounds, halls, stairways, 
closets, are filled with applicants, who render' ingress and 

' Alex. K. McClure, Recollections of Half a Century, p. 204. 
' George T. Curtis, Life of James Buchanan, Vol. 2, p. 530. 
' O. B. HaUister, Ufe of Colfax, p. 173. 



egress diflBcult."* Lincoln himself said: "I seem like one 
sitting in a palace, assigning apartments to importunate ap- 
plicants, while the structure is on fire and likely soon to 
perish in ashes.'" Stanton is authority for the statement 
"that Lincoln takes the precaution of seeing no stranger 

In this beswildering mass of humanity New York had its 
share. Seward sought protection behind his son, Frederick 
W. Seward, whom the President had appointed assistant 
secretary of state. "I have placed him where he must meet 
the whole army of friends seeking oflSce," he wrote his wife 
on March 8 — "an hundred taking tickets when only one can 
draw a prize."^ Koscoe Conkling, then beginning his second 
term in Congress, needed no barrier of this kind. "Early in 
the year 1861," says his biographer, "a triumvirate of Re- 
publicans assumed to designate candidates for the of- 
fices which President Lincoln was about to fill in the Oneida 
district. To accomplish this end they went to Washington 
and called upon their representative, handing him a list of 
candidates to endorse for appointment. Mr. Conkling read it 
carefully, and, seeing that it contained undesirable names, 
he replied : 'Gentlemen, when I need your assistance in mak- 
ing the appointments in our district, I shall let you know.' 
This retort, regarded by some of his friends as indiscreet, 
was the seed that years afterward ripened into an unfortu- 
nate division of the Republican party."* 

If Seward was more tactful than Conkling in the dispensa- 

*F. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 530. 

'Alex. K. McClure, Life of Lincoln, p. 56. 

"George T. Curtis, Life of James Buchanan, Vol. 2, p. 530. 

A writer in the North American Review says, "the clamour for 
offices is already quite extraordinary, and these poor people un- 
doubtedly belong to the horde which has pressed in here seeking 
places under the new Administration, which neither has nor can 
hope to have places enough to satisfy one-twentieth the number." 
November, 1879, p. 488. 

' F. W. Seward, Life of W. E. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 518. 

°A. R. Conkling, Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling, pp. 119, 120. 


tion of patronage, lie was not less vigilant and tenacious. 
Almost immediately after inauguration it became apparent 
that diflEerences relative to local appointments existed be- 
tween him and Ira Harris, the newly elected New York sen- 
ator. Harris' tall and powerful form, distinguished by a 
broad and benevolent face, was not more marked than the 
reputation that preceded him as a profound and fearless 
judge. At the Albany bar he had been the associate of Mar- 
cus T. Reynolds, Samuel Stevens, Nicholas Hill, and the ven- 
erable Daniel Cady, and if he did not possess the wit of 
Reynolds or the eloquence of Cady, the indomitable energy of 
Stevens and the mental vigour of Nicholas Hill were his, 
making conspicuous his achievements in the pursuit of truth 
and justice. His transfer to the Senate at the age of fifty- 
eight and his appointment upon the judiciary and foreign 
relations committees, presented a new opportunity to exhibit 
his deep and fruitful interest in public afifairs, and, as the 
friend of Senators Collamer of Vermont and Sumner of Mas- 
sachusetts, he was destined to have an influential share in the 
vital legislation of the war period. 

Harris took little interest in the distribution of patronage, 
or in questions of party politics that quicken local strife, 
but he insisted upon a fair recognition of his friends, and 
to adjust their differences Seward arranged an evening con- 
ference to which the President was invited. At this meet- 
ing the discussion took a broad range. The secretary of 
state had prepared a list covering the important offices in 
New York, but before he could present it, Lincoln, with the 
ready intuitions of a shrewd politician, remarked that he re- 
served to himself the privilege of appointing Hiram Barney 
collector of the port of New York. This announcement did 
not surprise Seward, for, at the conclusion of Weed's visit 
to Springfield in the preceding December, Lincoln reminded 
the journalist that he had said nothing about appointments. 
"Some gentlemen who have been quite nervous about the 
object of your visit here," said the President-elect, "would 
be surprised, if not incredulous, were I to tell them that 


during the two days we have passed together you have 
made no application, suggestion, or allusion to political ap- 

To this the shrewd manager, willing to wait until Seward's 
appointment and confirmation as secretary of state had 
placed him in a position to direct rather than to beg patron- 
age, replied that nothing of that nature had been upon his 
mind, since he was much more concerned about the welfare of 
the country. "This," said Lincoln, "is undoubtedly a proper 
view of the question, and yet so much were you misunder- 
stood that I have received telegrams from prominent Repub- 
licans warning me against your efforts to forestall important 
appointments in your State. Other gentlemen who have vis- 
ited me since the election have expressed similar apprehen- 
sions." The President, thus cunningly leading up to what 
was on his mind, said further that it was particularly pleas- 
ant to him to reflect that he was coming into office unembar- 
rassed by promises. "I have not," said he, "promised an of- 
fice to any man, nor have I, but in a single instance, mentally 
committed myself to an appointment; and as that relates 
to an important office in your State, I have concluded to men- 
tion it to you — under strict injunctions of secrecy, however. 
If I am not induced by public considerations to change my 
purpose, Hiram Barney will be collector of the port of New 

To Weed, Barney's name aroused no agreeable memories. 
At the formation of the Republican party he had found it 
easier to affiliate with Lucius Robinson and David Dudley 
Field than to act in accord with the Whig leader, and the 
result at Chicago had emphasised this independence. Too 
politic, however, to antagonise the appointment, and too 
wary to indorse it, Weed replied that prior to the Chicago 
convention he had known Barney very slightly, but that, if 
what he had learned of him since was true, Barney was en- 
titled to any office he asked for. "He has not asked for this 

» Thurlow Weed Barnes, Ufe of Thurlaw Weed, Vol. 2, p. 612. 


or any other oflSce," said Lincoln, quickly; "nor does he 
know of my intention."" 

If the President-elect failed to draw out the adroit New 
Yorker, he had tactfully given notice of his intention not to 
be controlled by him. A political boss, outside his own State, 
usually bears the reputation that home opponents give him, 
and, although Weed was never so bad as painted by his ad- 
versaries, he had long been a chief with an odious notoriety. 
Apparently disinterested, and always refusing to seek or to 
accept office himself, he loved power, and for years, whenever 
Whig or Republican party was ascendant in New York, his 
ambition to prescribe its policy, direct its movements, and 
dictate the men who might hold office, had been discreetly 
but imperiously exercised, until his influence was viewed 
with abhorrence by many and with distrust by the country. ^^ 
It is doubtful if Lincoln's opinion corresponded with the 
accepted one,^^ but his desire to have some avenue of informa- 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, pp. 613, 613, 

" Gideon Welles, Lincoln and Seward, p. 22. 

"In pecuniary matters Weed was generous to a fault while poor; 
he is said to be less so since he became rich. ... I cannot doubt, 
hcwcTer, that if he had never seen Wall Street or Washington, had 
nerer heard of the Stock Board, and had lived in some yet un- 
discovered country, where legislation is never bought nor sold, 
his life would have been more blameless, useful, and happy. 
I was sitting beside him in his editorial room soon after 
Governor Seward's election, when he opened a letter from a brother 
Whig, which ran substantially thus: 'Dear Weed: I want to 
be a bank examiner. You know how to fix it. Do so, and 
draw on me for whatever sum you may see fit. Yours truly.' 
In an instant his face became prematurely black with mingled 
rage and mortification. 'My God,' said he, 'I knew that my 
political adversaries thought me a scoundrel, but I never till now 
supposed that my friends did.' " — Horace Greeley, Recollections of a 
Busy Life, pp. 312, 313. i 

" President Lincoln looked to Mr. Weed for counsel, when, as 
often during the war, he met with difficulties hard to surmount. 
It was Mr. Lincoln's habit at such times to telegraph Mr. Weed to 
come to Washington from Albany or New York, perhaps at an 
hour's notice. He often spent the day with the President, com- 


tion respecting New York affairs opened to him other than 
through the Weed machine, made the President bold to de- 
clare his independence at the outset. 

The immediate influence that led to the announcement of 
Barney's selection, however, is not entirely clear. At the 
Cooper Institute meeting in February, 1860, at which Lin- 
coln spoke, barney occupied a seat on the stage, and was 
among the few gentlemen having opportunity to pay the dis- 
tinguished Illinoisan those courtesies which especially please 
one who felt, as Lincoln did "by reason of his own modest 
estimate of himself,"^^ that he was under obligation to any 
person showing him marked attention. But neither this fact 
nor Barney's subsequent support at Chicago sufficiently ac- 
counts for the strong preference indicated by such an impor- 
tant and far-reaching appointment. Among the few indorse- 
ments on file in the treasury department at Washington, one 
letter, dated March 8, 1861, and addressed to Salmon P. 
Chase, speaks of Barney as "a personal friend of yours." 
Six days later a New York newspaper announced that "the 
appointment of Barney has been a fixed fact ever since Chase 
went into the Cabinet. It was this influence that persuaded 
Chase to accept the position."" The biographer of Thurlow 
Weed, probably basing the statement upon the belief of Weed 
himself, states, without qualification, that "Barney was ap- 
pointed through the influence of Secretary Chase."^' This 
may, in part, account for Weed's and Seward's bitter hos- 
tility to the Ohioan's becoming a member of the Cabinet ; for, 
if Chase, before his appointment as secretary of the treas- 
ury, had sufficient influence to control the principal federal 
office in New York, what, might they not have asked, would 
be the measure of this influence after the development of his 

ing and returning by night, regardless of his age and infirmities. 
His services in these exigencies were often invaluable." — Thurlovr 
Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 288. 

" Nicolay and Hay, Ahraham Lincoln, Vol. 8, p. 217. 

"New York Eerald, March 14, 1861. 

" Thurlovy Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 613. 


great ability as a financier has made him necessary to the 
President as well as to the country? 

Inquiry, however, as to the one first suggesting Barney's 
name to Lincoln does not lead to the open. Chase's entrance 
into the Cabinet being settled, his influence firmly sustained 
Barney, but, before that, very early after the election, be- 
tween November 7 and Weed's visit to Springfield on Decem- 
ber 17, some one spoke the word in Barney's behalf which 
left such a deep and lasting impression upon the President's 
mind that he determined to advise Weed, before Seward 
could accept the state portfolio, of his intention to appoint 
Barney collector of the port of New York. The name of the 
person exerting such an influence, however, is now unknown. 
During this period Chase neither saw the President-elect, 
nor, so far as the records show, wrote him more than a formal 
note of congratulations. Another possible avenue of com- 
munication may have been Bryant or Greeley, but the latter 
distinctly denied that he asked, or wanted, or manipulated 
the appointment of any one." Bryant, who had great influ- 
ence with Lincoln,'' and who strongly opposed Seward's go- 
ing into the Cabinet," had presided at the Cooper Institute 
meeting and sat beside Hiram Barney. He knew that such 
a man, placed at the head of the custom-house and wielding 
its vast patronage, could be a potent factor in breaking 
Weed's control, but the editor's only published letter to Lin- 
coln during this period was confined to reasons for making 
Chase secretary of state. In it he did not deprecate the 
strengthening of the Weed machine which would probably 
ignore the original New York supporters of Lincoln, or in 
any wise refer to local matters. Bryant had been partial to 
Chase for President until after Lincoln's Cooper Institute 
speech, and now, after election, he thought Chase, as secre- 


^New York Tribune, editorial, April 2, 1861. 

" " 'It was worth the journey to the East,' said Mr. Lincoln, 'to 
see such a man as Bryant,' " — John Bigelow, Life of William Cullen 
Bryant, p. 218. 

"Nicolay and Hay, AbraJiam Lincoln, Vol. 3, p. 257. 

1861] HIEAM BAENEY 395 

tary of state, would be best for the country. Lincoln's reply 
of "a few lines," convincing his correspondent "that whatever 
selection you make it will be made conscientiously," con- 
tained no word about Barney. Other letters, or parties per- 
sonally interested in Barney, may have passed between the 
President-elect and Bryant, or Chase. Indeed, Lincoln con- 
fessed to Weed that he had received telegrams and visits from 
prominent Republicans, warning him against the Albany edi- 
tor's efforts to forestall important state appointments, but 
no clue is left to identify them. The mystery deepens, too, 
since, whatever was done, came without Barney's suggestion 
or knowledge.^* 

Hiram Barney, a native of Jefferson County, a graduate 
of Union College in 1834, and the head of a well-known law 
firm, was a lawyer of high character and a Republican of 
Democratic antecedents, who had stood with Greeley and 
Bryant in opposing Seward at Chicago, and whose appoint- 
ment to the most important federal office in the State meant 
mischief for Weed.^" In its effect it was not unlike President 
Garfield's selection of William H. Robertson for the same 
place ; and, although it did not at once result so disastrously 
to Weed as Robertson's appointment did to Conkling twenty 
years later, it gave the editor's adversaries vantage ground, 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of ThurJow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 613. 

"""Hiram Barney belongs to the Van Buren Democratic Buffalo 
Free-soil wing- of the Eepubliean party. He studied law with 
C. C. Cambreling and practised it with Benjamin P. Butler. Tor 
President he voted for Jackson, for Van Buren in 1840 and 1848, 
for Hale in 1852, and for Fremont and Lincoln. He was also a 
delegate to the Buffalo convention of 1848; so that as an out-and- 
out Van Buren Democratic Free-soil Republican, Barney is a bet- 
ter specimen than Van Buren himself."— New York Herald, March 
28, 1861. 

"Mr. Barney's quiet, unostentatious bearing has deprived him of 
the notoriety which attaches to most of our politicians of equal 
experience and influence. Nevertheless, he is well known to the 
Eepubliean party and universally respected as one of its foremost 
and most intelligent supporters." — New York Evening Post, March 
27. 1861. 


which so seriously crippled the Weed machine, that, in the 
succeeding November, George Opdyke, a personal enemy of 
Thurlow Weed,^^ was nominated and elected mayor of New 
York City. 

At the conference of the President and New York sena- 
tors, Seward, accepting the inevitable, received Lincoln's an- 
nouncement of Barney's appointment in chilling silence. 
Without openly disclosing itself, the proposed step had been 
the cause of much friction, and was yet to be opposed with 
coolness and candour, ^^ but Lincoln's firmness in declaring 
that Barney was a man of integrity who had his confidence, 
and that he had made the appointment on his own responsi- 
bility and from personal knowledge,^* impressed his hearers 
with the belief that, with whatever disfavour Seward lis- 
tened, he had practically surrendered to the will of his supe- 
rior. Another scene occurred, as the interview proceeded, 
which also indicated the master spirit. After reviewing the 
extended list of names presented for collectors and other of- 
ficers, Seward expressed the wish that the nominations might 
be sent forthwith to the Senate. The embarrassed senators, 
unprepared for such haste, found in the secretary of the navy, 
who had accompanied the President on the latter's invitation, 
a ready opponent to such a plan because other members of 
the Cabinet had been wholly ignored. Welles inquired if the 
secretary of the treasury and attorney-general had been con- 
sulted, insisting that a proper administration of the de- 
partments made their concurrence in the selection of compe- 
tent subordinates upon whom they must rely, not only proper 
but absolutely necessary. Seward objected to this as unneces- 
sary, for these were New York appointments, he said, and 
he knew better than Chase and Bates what was best in that 
State for the party and the Administration. The President, 

^Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 1, p. 528; 
Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 322. 

" "Strong protests against Barney have been received within the 
last twenty-four hours." — New York Herald, March 14, 1861. 

^ Gideon Welles, Lincoln and Setoard, p. 72. 


however, agreed with the secretary of the navy, declaring 
that nothing conclusive would be done until he had advised 
with interested heads of departments. "With this," says 
Welles, "the meeting soon and somewhat abruptly termi- 
nated."^* So far as it related to the distribution of patron- 
age, this coi^erence, held early in March, settled nothing 
beyond Barney's appointment; as to the question whether 
Seward was President or Premier, however, the New Yorker 
soon learned that he was to have influence with his chief only 
by reason of his assiduous attention to the public business 
and his dexterity and tact in promoting the views of the 

To the outsider, the appointment of Barney looked, for 
the moment, like a substantial defeat for "Seward. "The 
mighty struggle," said the Herald, "is for the possession of 
the New York appointments, and the strife is deadly and bit- 
ter."'" The anti-Weed forces, reinforced by the arrival of 
Greeley,''^ the coming of Barney,^' and the persistence of 
Harris,^^ were elated over reported changes in the Weed 
slate, believing the fruit of their long labours was about to 
come at last, but from the sum-total of the nominations, made 
day by day, it appeared that while several attaches of the 
Tribune's staff had been recognised,^" Seward had secured all 

"Gideon Welles, Lincoln and Seward, p. 73. 

" "Executive skill and Tigour are rare qualities. The President 
is the best of us." Seward's letter to his wife. — F. W. Seward, 
Life of W. H. Seward, Vol. 2, p. 590. 

''New York Herald, March 30, 1861. 

" "Thurlow Weed patched up the New York appointments and 
left this- morning. Greeley arrived about the same time and has 
been sponging Weed's slate at an awful rate." — Ibid., March 26. 

" "Barney arrived this morning in response to a summons from 
the President and the secretary of the treasury." — Ibid., April 1. 

"" "Senator Harris has proved himself more than a match for 
Weed."— I6id., April 4. 

2° Thus far four attaches of the Tribune have been ap- 
pointed. . . . These appointments except the last were Mr. 
Lincoln's regardless of Mr. Seward, who bears the Tribune no love." 
—Ibid., March 29. 


the important oflSces save collector of the port." During 
this turmoil the Secretary's unfailing calmness was not dis- 
turbed, nor his uniform courtesy ruffled. 

Seward never forgot a real friend. Out of thirty-five 
diplomatic posts carrying a salary of five thousand dollars 
and upward, the Empire State was credited with nine ; and, 
of these, one, a minister plenipotentiary, received twelve 
thousand dollars, and seven ministers resident, seventy-five 
hundred each. Seward, with the advice of Thurlow Weed, 
filled them all with tried and true supporters. Greeley, who, 
for some time, had been murmuring about the Secretary's 
appointments, let fly, at last, a sarcastic paragraph or two 
about the appointment of Andrew B. Dickinson, the farmer 
statesman of Steuben, which betrayed something of the bit- 
terness existing between the Secretary of State and the edi- 
tor of the Tribune. For more than a year no such thing had 
existed as personal relations. Before the spring of 1860 
tliey met frequently with a show of cordiality, and, although 
tlie former understood that the latter boasted an independ- 
ence of control whenever they differed in opinion, the 
Tribune co-operated and its editor freely conferred with 
the New York senator during the long struggle in Con- 
gress for Kansas and free labour; but after Seward's de- 
feat at Chicago they never met,*^ dislike displaced regard, 
and the Tribune, with eye and ear open to catch whatever 
would make its adversary wince, indulged in bitter sarcasm. 
William B. Taylor's reappointment as postmaster at New 
York City gave it opportunity to praise Taylor and criticise 
Seward, claiming that the former, who had held oflQce under 

'^ "Seward secures all the important offices save the coUectorship, 
■which was given to Greeley." — ^New York Herald, March 30, 1861. 

^ "In the spring of 1859, Governor Seward crossed the Atlantic, 
visiting Egypt, traversing Syria, and other portions yf Asia Minor 
as well as much of Europe. Soon after his return he came one 
evening to my seat in Dr. Chapin's church, — as he had repeatedly 
done during former visits to our city, — and I now recall 
this as the last occasion on which we ever met." — Horace Greeley, 
Recollections of a Busy Life, p. 321. 


Buchanan, though an excellent official, was not a Republican. 
This proved so deep a thrust, arraying office-seekers and their 
friends against the Secretary and Thurlow Weed, that Gree- 
ley kept it up, finding some appointees inefficient, and the 
Republicanism of others insufficient. 

To the f orajier class belonged the minister resident to Nica- 
ragua. Dickinson had wearied of a farmer's life,'' and Sew- 
ard, who often benefited by his ardent and influential friend- 
ship, bade him make his own selection from the good things 
he had to offer. More than ordinary reasons existed why tha 
Secretary desired to assist the Steuben farmer. Dickinsou 
served in the State Senate throughout Seward's two terms 
as governor, and during fhese four years he had fearlessly 
and faithfully explained and defended Seward's recom- 
mendation of a division of the school fund, which proved 
so offensive to many thousand voters in New York. Indeed, 
it may be said with truth, that Seward's record on that one 
question did more to defeat him at Chicago than all his 
"irrepressible conflict" and "higher-law" declarations. It 
became the fulcrum of Curtin's and Lane's aggressive re- 
sistance, who claimed that, in the event of his nomination, 
the American or Know-Nothing element in Pennsylvania and 
Indiana would not only maintain its organisation, but 

" " 'Bray Dickinson," as he was generally and familiarly called, 
■whose early education was entirely neglected but whose perceptions 
and intuitions were clear and ready, was an enterprising- farmer, — 
too enterprising, indeed, for he undertook more than he could ac- 
complish. His ambition was tp be the largest cattle and produce 
grower in his county (Steuben). If his whole time and thoughts 
had been given to farming, his anticipations might have been 
realised, but, as it was, he experienced the fate of those who keep 
too many irons in the fire. In 1839 he was elected to the State 
Senate, where for four years he was able, fearless, and inflexibly 
honest. On one occasion a senator from Westchester County 
criticised and ridiculed Dickinson's language. Dickinson immedi- 
ately rejoined, saying that while his difBculty consisted in a want of 
suitable language with which to express his ideas, his colleague 
was troubled with a flood of words without any ideas to express." — 
Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 1, pp. 441, 442. 


largely increase its strength, because of its strong prejudices 
against a division of the school fund. 

Dickinson met this issue squarely. He followed the power- 
ful Pennsylvanian and Indianian from delegation to delega- 
tion, explaining that Seward had sought simply to turn the 
children of poor foreigners into the path of moral and in- 
tellectual cultivation pursued by the American born, — a 
policy, he declared, in which all Republicans and Christian 
citizens should concur. He pictured school conditions in 
New York City in 1840, the date of Seward's historic mes- 
sage; he sho\»ed how prejudices arising from differences of 
language and religion kept schoolhouses empty and slum 
children ignorant, while reform schools and prisons were 
full. Under these circumstances, thundered the Steuben 
farmer, Seward did right in recommending the establish- 
ment of schools in which such children might be instructed 
by teachers speaking the same language with themselves, 
and professing the same faith. 

This was the sort of defence Seward appreciated. His 
recommendation had not been the result of carelessness or 
inadvertence, and, although well-meaning friends sought to 
excuse it as such, he resented the insinuation. "I am only 
determined the more," he wrote, "to do what may be in my 
power to render our system of education as comprehensive 
as the interests involved, and to provide for the support of 
the glorious superstructure of universal suffrage, — ^the basis 
of universal education."*^* In his defence, Dickinson main- 
tained the excellence of Seward's suggestion, and it deeply 
angered the Steuben farmer that the Tribune's editor, who 
knew the facts as well as he, did not also attempt to silence 
the arguments of the two most influential Lincoln delegates, 
who boldly based their opposition, not upon personal hos- 
tility or his advanced position in Republican fajth, but upon 
what Greeley had known for twenty years to be a perver- 
sion of Seward's language and Seward's motives. 

In the Secretary's opinion Dickinson's bold defiance of 

"=* P. W. Seward, Life of W. H. Seward, VoL 1, p. 503. 


the rules of grammar and spelling did not weaken his nat- 
ural intellectual strength; but Greeley, whom the would-be 
diplomat, with profane vituperation, had charged at Chicago 
with the basest ingratitude,'* protested against such an ap- 
pointment to such an important post. "We have long known 
him," said the Tribune, "as a skilful farmer, a cunning politi- 
cian, and a hearty admirer of Mr. Seward, but never sus- 
pected him of that intimate knowledge of the Spanish lan- 
guage which is almost indispensable to that country, which, 
just at this moment, from the peculiar designs of the South- 
ern rebels, is one of the most important that the secretary of 
state has to fiU."'^ Dickinson recognised the odium that 
■would attach to Seward because of the appointment, and in 
a characteristic letter he assured the Secretary of State that, 
whatever Greeley might say, he need have no fear of his abil- 
ity to represent the government efficiently at the court of 
Nicaragua. ^^ 

James S. Pike's selection for minister resident to The 
Hague seemed to contradict Greeley's declaration that he 
neither asked nor desired the appointment of any one. For 
years Pike, "a skilful maligner of Mr. Seward,"'^ had been 
the Washington representative of the Tribune, and the 
belief generally obtained that, although Pike belonged to 
Maine and was supported by its delegation in Congress, the 
real power behind the throne lived in New York. Neverthe- 
less, the Tribunes editor, drifting in thought and speech in 
the inevitable direction of his genius, soon indicated that 
he had had no personal favours to ask. 

MThurlow Weed Barnes, LiU of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 273. 

» New York Tribune, March 29, 1861. 

"""Hornby, April 3, 1861. Dear Seward: I shall have to take a 
Gentleman with me that can speak the Spanish language and 
correct bad English. That being well done I can take care of the 
ballance Greeley to the contrary notwithstanding. . . . You have 
much at stake in my appointment as it is charged (and I know 
how justly) to your account." — ^Unpublished letter in files of State 

" Thurlow Weed Barnes, Life of Thurlow Weed, Vol. 2, p. 326. 


Seward's appointment as secretary of state chilled Gree- 
ley's love for the new Administration.^* The Tribune's edi- 
tor seems never to have shown an exalted appreciation of 
Abraham Lincoln. Although they served together in Con- 
gress, and, for twenty years, had held to the same political 
faith, Greeley, apparently indifferent to his colleague's suc- 
cess, advocated, in 1858, the return of Stephen A. Douglas 
to the United States Senate, because of his hostility to the 
Lecompton policy of the Buchanan administration, and it 
was intimated that this support, backed by his powerful jour- 
nal, may have resulted in Douglas' carrying the Legislature 
against Lincoln. In 1860, Greeley favoured Bates for 
President. He was not displeased to have Lincoln nomi- 
nated, but his battle had been to defeat Seward, and when 
Lincoln turned to Seward for secretary of state, which 
meant, as Greeley believed, the domination of the Weed 
machine to punish his revolt against Seward, Greeley be- 
came irretrievably embittered against the President. 

It is doubtful if Lincoln and Greeley, under any circum- 
stances, could have had close personal relations. Lack of 
sympathy because they did not see things alike must have 
kept them apart; but Seward's presence in the Cabinet 
undoubtedly limited Greeley's intercourse with the Presi- 
dent at a time when frequent conferences might have 
avoided grave embarrassments. His virile and brilliant 
talents, which turned him into an independent and acute 
thinker on a wide range of subjects, always interested 
his readers, giving expression to the thoughts of many 
earnest men who aided in forming public opinion in 
their neighbourhoods, so that it may be said with truth, 
that, in 1860 and 1861, everything he wrote was eagerly 
read and discussed in the North. "Notwithstanding 
the loyal support given Lincoln throughout ,the country," 

""I am charged with having opposed the selection of Governor 
Sevcard for a place in President Lincoln's Cabinet. That is utterly, 
absolutely false, the President himself being my vritness. I might 
call many others, but one such is sufficient." — New York Tribune, 
signed editorial, July 25, 1861. 


says McClure, "Greeley was in closer touch with the active, 
loyal sentiment of the people than even the President him- 
self.'"" His art of saying things on paper seemed to thrill 
people as much as the nervous, spirited rhetoric of an intense 
talker. With the air of lofty detachment from sordid inter- 
ests, his sentences, clear and rapid, read like the clarion 
notes of a peroration, and impressed his great audiences with 
an earnestness that often carried conviction even to unwill- 
ing listeners. 

Nevertheless, the Tribune's columns did not manifest to- 
ward the Administration a fine exhibition of the love of 
fair play. In the hottest moment of excitement growing 
out of hostilities, it patriotically supported the most vigor- 
ous prosecution of the war, and mercilessly criticised its op- 
ponents; but Greeley would neither conform to nor silently 
endure Lincoln's judgment, and, as every step in the war 
created new issues, his constant criticism, made through the 
columns of a great newspaper, kept the party more or less 
seriously divided, until, by untimely forcing emancipation, 
he inspired, despite the patient and conciliatory methods of 
Lincoln, a factious hostility to the President which embar- 
rassed his efforts to marshal a solid North in support of his 
war policy. Greeley was a man of clean hands and pure 
heart, and, at the outset, it is probable that his attempted 
direction of Lincoln's policy existed without ill-feeling; yet 
he was a good hater, and, as the contest went on, he drifted 
into an opposition which gradually increased in bitterness, 
and, finally, led to a temporary and foolish rebellion against 
the President's renomination. Meantime, the great-hearted 
Lincoln, conning the lesson taught by the voice of history, 
continued to practise the precept, 

"Saying, What is excellent. 
As God lives, is permanent." 

*Alex. K, McClure, Lincoln and Men of War Times, p. 295. 


Abolitionists, denounced b y 
press, ii. 9; by meetings, ii. 10; 
influence of, in 1838, ii. 35; in 
1844, ii. 82; rapidly increasing 
strengfth, ii. 89; unite with 
Hunkers and Barnburners in 
1849, ii. 150; separate nomina- 
tions in 1850, ii. 156; election 
of Smith to Congress, ii. 179; 
nomination of Douglass for 
secretary of state, ii. 216; 
favour peaceable secession, ii. 

Adams-Jackson campaign, re- 
sembled that of Blaine-Cleve- 
land, i. 367-8. 

Adams, John, cautioned not to 
speak of independence, i. 2; 
on Ja3''s state constitution, i. 
8; suggests Council of Ap- 
pointment, i. 8; anxiety to 
have his son President, i. 240. 

Adams, John Quincy, unpopu- 
larity of, i. 358; an Anti- 
Mason, i. 361; scene when 
elected President, i. 343; ac- 
tion of Van Eensselaer, i. 343. 

Administration Whigs, followers 
of Fillmore, ii. 157; unite with 
Democrats for Seymour's elec- 
tion in 1850, ii. 157. 

Albany, political centre, i. 375. 

Albany Argus, on Clinton's loss 
of canal patronage, i. 261; 
paper of Edwin Croswell, i. 
294; Seward's "forty million 
debt," ii. 35; on secession, ii. 

Albany Evening Journal, estab- 
lished in March, 1830, i. 374; 
Thurlow Weed its first editor, 
i. 374; salary of, i. 374; largest 
circulation in United States, i. 

Albany Eegency, when estab- 
lished, 1. 293-4; original mem- 

bers of, i. 293-4; other mem- 
bers, i. 294; Thurlow Weed on, 
i. 294; supports Crawford in 
1824, i. 324; removes Clinton 
from canal commission, i. 328; 
influence ended, ii. 53. 

Albany Register, attacks Burr, i. 

Alien and Sedition Acts, over- 
throw Federal party, i. 84; ap- 
proved by Jay, i. 85; Adams 
responsible for, i. 88. 

Allen, Peter, treatment of Fel- 
lows, i. 256. 

American Citizen and Watch- 
toieer, controlled by Clinton, i. 
122; edited by Cheetham, i. 
122; attack on Burr, i. 122-3. 

American Colonisation Society, 
history of, ii. 7; forms repub- 
lic of Liberia, ii. 8. 

American party, see Native 
American party. 

Andrew, John A., governor of 
Massachusetts, i. 274; Tomp- 
kins compared to, i. 274; 
opinion of Brown, ii. 269. 

A n t i - Federalists, organisation 
of, i. 38; in majority, i. 38; 
elect governor in 1789, i. 44; 
also in 1792, i. 56; defeated 
in 1795, i. 65; in 1798, i. 82; be- 
come known as Republicans, 
i. 80. 

"A n t i - Jackson," "Anti-Mort- 
gage," "Anti-Regency" fac- 
tions unite as Whigs, i. 399. 

Anti-Masons, bolted Thompson 
in 1828, i. 363; nominated 
Granger, i. 363; substituted 
Southwick, i. 364; ticket de- 
feated, i. 368; issues of, broad- 
ened, i. 376; nominated 
Granger in 1830, i. 376; defeat 
of, i. 377; nominated Wirt for 
President in 1832, i. 393; in 




accord with National Repub- 
licans, i. 392; nominated Gran- 
g-er in 1832, i. 393; electoral 
ticket of, i. 393; reason for 
defeat, i. 396; party dis- 
solved, i. 398; become Whigs, i. 

Anti-Masonry, becomes political, 
i. 360; excitement, i. 360; con- 
fined to western half of State, 
i. 360; Van Buren on, i. 365; 
semi-religious, i. 370; sudden 
reaction, i. 398; popularity of 
Free-Masonry, i. 398. 

Anti-Nebraska convention, ii. 
194; prominent men present, 
ii. 194; reassembles, ii. 201; 
forerunner o f Republican 
party, ii. 194. 

Anti-Eent party, organisation 
of, ii. 82-3; contest over con- 
stitutional convention, ii. 97; 
support Young for governor, 
ii. 118-9; influence of, in 1848, 
ii. 139. 

"Aristides," nom de plume of Wil- 
liam P. Van Ness, i. 123-6. 

Armstrong, John, author of 
Newburgh Letters, i. 89; op- 
poses Alien-Sedition laws, i. 
89; brother-in-law of Chancel- 
lor Living^on, i. 116; elected 
to United States Senate, i. 116; 
resigned, i. 118; minister to 
France, i. 150; opposes Clin- 
ton, i. 204; changed views, 1. 
204; Tompkins jealous of, i. 
216: character and career of, 
i. 216; secretary of war, i. 
216, 222; Spencer, a friend of, 
i. 216; plan of Canada cam- 
paign, 1. 222; failure of, i. 223; 
puts Wilkinson in command, i. 
223; plans again fail, i. 224-5; 
promotes Brown and Scott, i. 
225; resigns in disgrace, i. 
227; Madison's dislike of, i. 

Assembly, Provincial, refuses to 
approve proceedings of Con- 
gress, i. 4. 

Assembly, State, original mem- 
bership of, i. 9; election 
of, i. 9; how apportioned, i. 9; 
powers of, i. 9; elected by, 1. 

Astor, William B., contribution 
to fusion ticket, ii. 332. 

Auburn, gloom over Seward's 
defeat, ii. 290-1, note. 

Bacon, Ezekiel, in constitutional 

convention of 1846, ii. 103. 
Bailey, Theodorus, urged for ap- 
pointment, i. 121; Clinton's 
agent, i. 152; elected to United 
States Senate, i. 156. 
Baltimore convention in 1860, ii. 
294-303; Seymour strength- 
ened, ii. 294; New York in 
control, ii. 294, note; seceding 
delegations wish to return, ii. 
295; bitter debate, ii. 296-7; 
New York admits contestants, 
ii. 300; States secede, ii. 300; 
Soule's speech, ii. 300-1; Doug- 
las nominated, ii. 302; Fitz- 
patrick nominated for Vice 
President, ii. 302; Johnson 
substituted, ii. 302. 

Banks, Republicans opposed to, 
i. 186; Hamilton secures char- 
ters, i. 186; clever trick of 
Burr, i. 187; State Bank of 
Albany, i. 187; Merchants' 
Bank of New York, i. 189; 
Bank of America, i. 191; char- 
ter granted, i. 197. 

Bank of Albany, incorporation 
of, i. 186. 

Bank of America of New York, 
incorporation of, i. 191; in- 
ducements for, i. 191. 

Bank of Columbia at Hudson, 
incorporation of, i. 186. 

Bank of New York, incorpora^ 
tion of, i. 186. 

Barker, George P., attorney-gen- 
eral, ii. 52. 

Barnard, David, popular anti- 
masonic preacher, i. 370. 

Barnburners, Democratic fac- 
tion, ii. 126; why so called, ii. 
126; leaders of, ii. 126-7; hos- 
tility to Hunkers, ii. 127; 
secede from Democratic con- 
vention in 1847, ii. 127; with- 
draw from Baltimore conven- 
tion, ii. 130; hold Utica con- 
vention, ii. 131; nominate Van 
Buren for President, ii. 131; 
two factions of, ii. 131; leading 



members, ii. 131; Buffalo con- 
vention of 1848, ii. 132; in- 
dorsed Van Buren for Presi- 
dent, ii. 133; Webster's pun, ii. 
133; nominated Dix for gov- 
ernor, ii. 133; Seymour unites 
them with Hunkers, ii. 149; 
nominated Seymour for gov- 
ernor in 1850, ii. 156; defeated, 
ii. 158; support Marcy for 
President in 1852, ii. 169-72; 
support Pierce aid Seymour 
in 1852, ii. 169-78; succeed, ii. 
178; Hunkers secede in 1853, 
ii. 180-5; nominate separate 
ticket, ii. 184; approved canal 
amendment, ii. 184; called 
Softshells or Softs, ii. 185; see 

Barney, Hiram, appointed col- 
lector of port of New York, 
ii. 390; choice of Lincoln, ii. 
390-6; mysterious influence in 
favour of, ii. 393; career of, ii. 
395; crippled Weed machine, 
ii. 395-6. 

Barstow, Gamaliel H., candidate 
for lieutenant-governor in 
1836, ii. 12; career of, ii. 13; 
defeated, ii. 14; state treas- 
urer, ii. 18; withdraws from 
politics, ii. 38. 

Beach, John H., Seward's reli- 
ance upon, ii. 34. 

Beale, Charles L., in Congress, 
ii. 339, note; disapproved 
Weed's compromise, ii. 339, 

Beardsley, Samuel, leads Bemo- 
cratie forces in Congress, ii. 
1; heads mob against anti- 
slavery meeting, ii. 6; char- 
acter of, ii. 53. 

Beecher's Bibles, Sharpe's rifles, 
ii. 224. 

Beecher, Henry Ward, active 
against repeal of Missouri 
Compromise, ii. 193; in cam- 
paign of 1860, ii. 240; political 
sermons of, ii. 329; indiffer- 
ence to secession, ii. 334; 
peaceable secession, ii. 336. 

Beekman, John P., ambitious to 
be governor, ii. 172-3. 

Belmont, August, approves 
Weed's compromise, ii. 338, 

341; at Charleston convention, 
ii. 272. 

Benson, Egbert, attorney-gen- 
eral, i. 16; at Hartford conven- 
tion, i. 28; at Annapolis, i. 29; 
in Legislature, i. 33; action on 
Federal Constitution, i. 33; 
elected to Congress, i. 44; ap- 
pointed to Supreme Court, i. 

Benton, Thomas H., on Van 
Buren's conscription law, i. 
232; on Van Buren's rejection 
as minister, i. 389. 

Betts, Samuel K., appointed to 
Supreme Court, i. 322. 

Birdsall, John, on Supreme 
Court, i. 348; induced to leave 
Anti-Masons, i. 397. 

Blair, Montgomery, letter to 
Welles, Ii. 192. 

Blatchford, E. M., approved 
Weed's compromise, ii. 338. 

Blatchford, Samuel, law partner 
of Seward, ii. 165; defeated for 
Supreme Court, ii. 165. 

Bouck, William C, compared 
with Young, ii. 53; named for 
governor in 1840, ii. 54; de- 
feated, ii. 54; renominated in 
1842, ii. 54; elected, ii. 55; canal 
policy, ii. 56; nepotism of, ii. 
57; defeated for renomination, 
ii. 77-8; in constitutional con- 
vention of 1846, ii. 103; ap- 
pointed sub-treasurer, ii. 119; 
reasons for it, ii. 119, 123. 

Bowles, Samuel J., on Weed as 
a manager, ii. 283. 

Bradish, Luther, speaker of As- 
sembly, ii. 18; defeated for 
nomination for governor in 
1838, ii. 19-21; nominated for 
lieutenant-governor, ii. 21; 
nominated for governor in 
1842, ii. 51; defeated, ii. 55. 

Brady, James T., in campaign 
of 1852, ii. 178; nominated for 
attorney-general by Hunkers, 
ii. 183; nominated for governor 
by Hards, ii. 325; popularity 
of, ii. 325; defeat of, ii. 333; 
delegate to seceding States, ii. 

Bribery, in chartering Albany 
State Bank, i. 186-7; Purdy 



charged with, i. 190; Thomas 
and Southwick indicted and 
acquitted, i. 191-4. 

Bronson, Greene C, appointed 
attorney-general, i. 383; char- 
acter and career of, i. 383-4; ii. 
196; declines to support Softs, 
ii. 186; removed as collector, ii. 
187; Greeley on, ii. 187, 189; 
nominated for governor by 
Hards, ii. 196; inconsistency 
of, ii. 196; at peace congress, 
ii. 350. 

Brooks, Erastus, nominated for 
governor, ii. 238; early career 
of, ii. 238. 

Brooks, James, founded New 
York Express, ii. 238; early 
career of, ii. 238. 

Broome, John, candidate for 
lieutenant-governor, in 1804, i. 
129; death and career of, i. 180. 

Brown, Jacob, valour at Sack- 
ett's Harbour, i. 223; promot- 
ed, i. 225; character and career 
of, i. 225; on Niagara frontier, 
i. 226; brilliant leadership, i. 

Brown, John, raid of, ii. 259; 
career of, ii. 259-60; Douglas 
on, ii. 260; Emerson on, ii. 
260; Thoreau on, ii. 260; Long- 
fellow on, ii. 260; Lincoln on, 
ii. 264; Seward on, ii. 266-7; 
Andrew on, ii. 269. 

Brown University, William L. 
Marcy graduate of, i. 292. 

Bryant, William Cullen, in cam- 
paign of 1844, ii. 84; original 
Barnburner, ii. 131; supports 
Pierce and Seymour in 1852, ii. 
177; theory of, ii. 177, note; 
active in campaign of 1856, ii. 
240; meets Lincoln, ii. 266; 
chairman of Lincoln meeting, 
ii. 263; opposes Seward for 
President, ii. 285; elector-at- 
large, ii. 328; opposes Seward 
for secretary of state, ii. 394. 

Buchanan, nominated for Presi- 
dent, ii. 228; supported by 
Hards, ii. 227-8; Softs forced 
to vote for, ii. 227-8. 

Buektails, followers of Van 
Buren, i. 251; origin of name, 
i. 251. 

Buektails and Clintonians, in 
1820, two opposing parties, i. 

Buel, Jesse, candidate for gov- 
ernor in 1836, ii. 12; career and 
gifts of, ii. 12; defeated, ii. 13. 

Buffalo, Ijurned by British, i. 
224; Clinton predicts its great 
growth, i. 243. 

Burr, Aaron, with Arnold at 
Quebec, i. 5; supports Yates 
for governor, i. 43; attorney- 
general, i. 45; early career, i. 
45; his character, i. 45; first 
meeting with Hamilton, i. 45- 
6; opinion of Washington, i. 
46; legend as to Hamilton and, 
i. 46; attorney-general, i. 46-7; 
elected to United States Sen- 
ate, i. 49; ambitious to be 
governor, i. 50; checked by 
Clinton and Hamilton, i. 50; 
non-attention to public busi- 
ness, i. 55; referee in Clinton- 
Jay contest, i. 57; undertakes 
to .carry New York, i. 89; skil- 
ful methods of, i. 90; meets 
Hamilton at the polls, i. 91; 
courtesy of, i. 91; style of 
speaking, i. 91; Root's opin- 
ion of, i. 91 ; party triumphant, 
i. 91; candidate for Vice Presi- 
dent, i. 98; the tie vote, i. 98; 
favours Jefferson's election, i. 
98; supported by Federalists, 
i. 98-9; silent as to result, 
i. 102; Van Ness as a go- 
between, i. 103; deceived by 
Edward Livingston, i. 103; 
defeated for President, i. 104; 
elected Vice President, i. 104; 
eulogised by Jefferson, i. 104; 
sudden change toward, i. 105; 
personal appearance, i. 106; 
president constitutional con- 
vention, i. 115; helped Clin- 
ton's control, i. 115-6; Clin- 
ton's dislike of, i. 116; Clinton 
determines to destroy him, i. 
116; friends without an office, 
i. 119; turns against Jefferson 
and Clinton, i. 121-2; silence 
under attack, i. 123; "Aris- 
tides'" defence of, i. 123; 
nominated for governor in 
1804, i. 131; hopeless race from 



start, i. 131; Hamilton's rea- 
sons for opposing, i. 133-5; 
leader of secession, i. 134-5; 
Lansing's withdrawal, i. 136; 
reasons for election, i. 137; 
powerful friends, i. 138; de- 
feated, i. 138; challenged 
Hamilton, i. 139-40; hostile 
meeting, i. 142; death of Ham- 
ilton, i. 142; indicted for mur- 
der, i. 144; later career, i. 144- 
5; character, i. 145; unnatural 
parent, i. 146; connection 
with Tammany, i. 182; clever 
trick to charter bank, i. 187. 

Burrows, Lorenzo, nominated 
for governor by Americans, ii. 
249; character of, ii. 249; de- 
feated, ii. 255. 

Burt, James, in Council of Ap- 
pointment, i. 156, 

Butler, Benjamin. F., district 
attorney, i. 289; gifts, char- 
acter, and career of, i. 289-94; 
appearance of, i. 289; relations 
with Talcott, i. 291; law part- 
ner of Van Buren, i. 291; mem- 
ber of Albany Regency, i. 
293-4; death of, i. 294; sent to 
Assembly, i. 358; United States 
attorney -general, ii. 1; prac- 
tising law, ii. 53; at Baltimore 
convention, ii. 70-3; declines to 
be secretary of war, ii. 94; a 
Barnburner, ii. 126; at Utica 
convention, ii. 131. 

Butler, William Allen, son of 
Benjamin F., eulogy of Van 
Buren, i. 208. 

Cady, Daniel, gifts and char- 
acter of, i. 169; career of, i. 
169; father of Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton, i. 169; assails em- 
bargo, i. 169. 

Cagger, Peter, at Charleston 
convention, ii. 273. 

Calhoun, John C, resembled 
John C. Spencer, i. 264; Clin- 
ton on, i. 386, note; opposes 
Van Buren, i. 387. 

Cambreling, Churchill C, leads 
Democratic forces in Congress, 
ii. 1; in constitutional conven- 
tion of 1846, ii. 103; minister 
to Russia, ii. 103; a Barn- 

burner, ii. 128; at Utica con- 
vention, ii. 131; supports 
Pierce and Seymour in 1853, 
ii. 177. 

Cameron, Simon, promised place 
in Lincoln's cabinet, ii. 288. 

Campaign speeches in 1860, ii. 

Canadian rebellion, history of, 
ii. 23-4. 

Cantine, Moses I., brother-in-law 
of Van Buren, i. 251; opposed 
Clinton and Erie canal, i. 251. 

Caroline, steamer in Canadian 
rebellion, ii. 24. 

Carter, Luther C, in Congress, 
ii. 339, note; disapproves 
Weed's compromise, ii. 339, 

Carver, Joseph, predicts inland 
waterway in New York, i. 241. 

Castle Garden meeting, to unite 
Fillmore Whigs and Demo- 
crats, ii. 157. 

Chapin, Edwin H., political ser- 
mons of, ii. 329. 

Chaplin, William L., nominated 
for governor by Abolitionists 
in 1850, ii. 156. 

Charleston convention in 1860, ii. 
270-9; Softs admitted, ii. 270; 
New York delegation, ii. 271- 
2; Richmond's leadership, 271- 
9; struggle over platform, ii. 
273-5; bitter debates, ii. 273-6; 
States secede, ii. 275; South, 
against Douglas and Guthrie, 
ii. 276; adjourned to Balti- 
more, ii. 279; see Baltimore 

Cheetham, James, editor of 
American Citizen, i. 123; at- 
tacked Burr, i. 132-3; as- 
sailed by Van Ness, i. 136; 
challenged Coleman, i. 128; 
assailed Burr in 1804, i. 137; 
opposed embargo, i. 165; ex- 
pelled from Tammany, i. 183; 
death of, i. 182. 

Chicago convention in 1860, ii. 
281-93; prototype of modern 
convention, ii. 281; Greeley on, 
ii. 281; chairmen and plat- 
form of, ii. 282; influence of 
cheering, ii. 288; Lincoln 
nominated on third ballot, ii> 



289; Evarts moved to make 
unanimous, ii. 289; Hamlin 
nominated for Vice President, 
ii. 289. 

Church, Sandford E., elected to 
Assembly in 1841, ii, 47; origi- 
nal Barnburner, ii. 131; nomi- 
nated for lieutenant-governor 
in 1850, ii. 156; at Charleston 
convention, ii. 272; temporary 
chairman of Democratic state 
peace convention, ii. 354. 

Civil war, secretary of treasury 
predicts, ii. 332; Republicans 
might have prevented, ii. 342; 
governor's message, ii. 348; 
petitions for peace, ii. 349; ac- 
tion of New York Chamber of 
Commerce, ii. 349; of Legis- 
lature, ii. 349; delegates to 
peace congress, ii. 350; deten- 
tion of guns, ii. 351; delegates 
sent to secession States, ii. 
351-2; Dix's dispatch, ii. 352; 
state convention of fusionists, 
ii. 354-8; Conkling on, ii. 357, 

Clark, Israel W., Albany Register, 
i. 262; friend of Erie canal, i. 

Clark, Myron H., nominated for 
governor in 1854, ii. 199; career 
and character of, ii. 199; Weed 
opposed nomination for gov- 
ernor, ii. 199; elected, ii. 203; 
not renominated, ii. 234. 

Clay, Henry, aids in rejection 
of Van Buren, i. 387; United 
States Bank, i. 393; defeat in 
1840, ii. 40; anger of friends, 
ii. 40. 

Clay party, organised in 1831, i. 
392; nominated Henry Clay for 
President in 1832, i. 392. 

Clinton, DeWitt, forces election 
of Council of Appointment, i. 
107; controls it, i. 107; early 
career of, i. 108; appearance 
and character of, i. 108-9; 
breaks with Jay, i. 110; adds 
to authority of Council, i. 115; 
prototype of political boss, i. 
115, 119; destroys Burr, i. 116, 
119; patronage to the Living- 
stons, i. 115; elected to United 
States Senate, i. 118; re- 

signs, i. 119; becomes mayor, 
i. 118; with JefEerson against 
Burr, i. 121; attacks Bun- 
through press, i. 122; as- 
sailed by Van Ness, i. 125-6; 
challenged by Swartout, i. 
127; wounds him, i. 127; re- 
grets it was not Burr, i. 127; 
too young for governor in 
1804, i. 136; opposes Lewis' ad- 
ministration, i. 149-51; bar- 
gains with the Burrites, i. 152; 
hostility of Martling Men, i. 
152; three olBces and salaries, 
i. 153; opposed by W. W. Van 
Ness; i. 153; removed from 
mayoralty, i. 155; selects 
Tompkins for governor, i. 158; 
contrasted to Tompkins, i. 
160-1; opposes embargo, i. 165, 
168, 171; changes opinion, 
i. 165; reappointed mayor, i. 
165; urges uncle for President, 
i. 166-7; series of mistakes, i. 
167; approves Madison's and 
Tompkins' administrations, i. 
168; assails Federalists, i. 168; 
removed as mayor, i. 172-3; re- 
appointed, i. 179; hostility of 
Tammany, i. 180-5; nominated 
lieutenant-g'overnor, j. 181; 
lavish style of living, i. 183; 
wealth of wife, i. 183; income 
as mayor, i. 183; Irish friends, 
i. 183; lack of tact, i. 184; 
ready to defeat Tompkins, i. 
184; desertion of friends, i. 
184-5; elected lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, i. 185; opposes charter 
of Merchants' Bank, i. 189; si- 
lent as to Bank of America, i. 
196; estrangement of Spencer, 
i. 197; seeks nomination for 
President, i. 199; fitness for, i. 
200; nominated by Legislature, 
i. 201; opposition to, i. 201-2; 
Granger supports, i. 202; op- 
posed by Tompkins, i. 201; by 
Eufus King, i. 203-6; sup- 
ported by Federalists, i. 204-8; 
campaign managed by Van 
Buren, i. 206-10; defeated for 
President, i. 210; reasons for, 
i, 210; King's election to 
United States Senate, i. 211-2; 
not renominated for lieuten- 



ant-governor, i. 212; attacks 
Tompkins and Taylor, i. 213; 
retains mayoralty, i. 213; 
Eiker his enemy, i. 218; re- 
fused a command in War of 
1812, i. 221; patriotic devotion, 
i. 221; removed from the 
mayoralty, 1. 235; record as 
mayor, i. 235; canal commis- 
sioner, i. 243-3; early efforts 
as, i. 343; in retirement, i. 
843; begins correspondence 
with Post, i. 243; 'plan for 
canal, i. 344; heads new com- 
mission, i. 345; friendship 
with Spencer renewed, i. 245; 
brother-in-law of Spencer, i. 
245; candidate for governor, i. 
245; reports on cost of canals, 
1. 246-7; supported by Federal- 
ists for governor in 1817, i. 
247-8; pictures Van Buren, i. 
250; nominated for governor 
in 1817, i. 250; elected, i. 252; 
inaugurated, i. 253; began 
work on canal, i. 352; at 
zenith of fame, i. 253; lacked 
politician's art, i. 254, 257; 
refused reconciliation with 
Young, i. 254; believed Kepub- 
lican party would divide, i. 
254-5; refused to appoint Fed- 
eralists, i. 255; dismissed Tam- 
many office-holders, i. 255; 
rivals of, i. 255; character of 
messages, i. 356; bolts party 
caucus, i. 257-60; not a re- 
former, 1. 360; crippled in 
power, 1. 261; loss of canal 
patronage, i. 261; sly methods 
of, i. 368; removes Bucktails 
from office, i. 373; calls Van 
Buren "arch scoundrel," i. 273; 
hesitates to remove him, i. 274; 
renominated for governor, i. 
279; without an organisation, 
i. 279; confident of election, i. 
281; elected, i. 281; protests 
against Federal patronage, i. 
283-4; green-bag message, i. 
285; vituperative allusions to 
Van Buren, i. 286, note; fails 
to defeat Van Buren for 
United States senator, i. 287; 
trapped into opposing the con- 
stitutional convention of 1831, 

i. 396; friends without influ- 
ence in convention, i. 298; not 
renominated for governor in 
1822, i. 312; reasons for, i. 
314-5; prophetic letter, i. 315; 
deceived as to Yates' popu- 
larity, i. 320; removed as canal 
commissioner, i. 339; great ex- 
citement, i. 329; nominated for 
governor, i. 330-1; stirring 
campaign against Young, i. 
332; elected, i. 333; about the 
Presidency, i. 334-5; favours 
Jackson, i. 334-6; a censorious 
critic, i. 334-5, note; likeness 
to Jackson, i. 336; opening of 
Erie canal, i. 345; ignores old 
custom, i. 347; renominated 
for governor in 1826, i. 350; 
re-elected, i. 352; death of, in 
1838, i. 353; remarks on, i. 
354-5; Van Buren on, i. 354; 
Weed on, i. 355. 
Clinton, George, member first 
constitutional convention, i. 
5; proposed for governor, i. 
17; manners of, i. 19; ancestry 
and career of, i. 20; elected 
governor, i. 21; Schuyler on, i. 
31; Washington on, i. 32; 
hatred of Tories, i. 23; ap- 
proves revenue going to Con- 
gress, i. 24; insists upon its 
collection by State, i. 25; re- 
fuses to convene Legislature, 
i. 25; Hamilton opposes, i. 25; 
not candid, i. 28; opposes re- 
vision of Articles of Confed- 
eration, i. 29; withdrawal of 
Yates and Lansing, i. 30; re- 
proves Hamilton, i. 31; bitter- 
est opponent of Federal Con- 
stitution, i. 32; ignored it in 
message, 1. 32; proposed an- 
other convention, i. 33; con- 
duct criticised, i. 36; Washing- 
ton on, i. 36; opposed for re- 
election as governor, i. 37_; 
Hamilton's encounter with, i. 
38; re-elected in 1789, i. 44; a 
master politician, i. 45; rea- 
sons for appointing Burr, i. 
46-7; helped by the Living- 
stons, i. 47-8; renominated for 
governor in 1792, i. 50; abuse 
and misrepresentation, i. 54; 



sales of public lands, i. 54; 
elected, i. 55; known as usurp- 
er, i. 61; refused to nominate 
Benson, i. 61; argument of, i. 
61; action of Council of Ap- 
pointment, i. 62; not a spoils- 
man, i. 62; declined to stand 
for re-election, i. 63; renomi- 
nated for governor in 1801, i. 
115; elected, i. 115; opposed 
methods of Council, i. 119; 
declines re-election, i. 129; 
elected Vice President, i. 147; 
opposed embargo, i. 165; 
urged for President in 1808, i. 
166; re-elected Vice President, 
i. 167; defeats United States 
Bank, i. 186; death and char- 
acter of, i. 197-8; the great 
war governor, i. 219; plan to 
connect Hudson with Lake 
Ontario, i. 242. 
Clinton, George W., son of De- 
Witt Clinton, ii. 183; nomi- 
nated secretary of state by 
Hunkers, ii. 183; Democratic 
state peace convention, ii. 356; 
loyal sentiments of, ii. 356-7, 
Clintonians, followers of De- 
Witt Clinton, i. 251. 
Clintonians and Bucktails in 
1820, two opposing parties, i. 
Clinton, James, in first constitu- 
tional convention, i. 5; brother 
of George Clinton, i. 43; father 
of DeWitt Clinton, i. 43; his 
character, i. 43-4. 
Cobb, Howell, secretary of treas- 
ury, ii. 332; on election of 
Lincoln, ii. 332; predicts 
panic, ii. 332. 
Cochrane, John, Barnburners' 
platform maker, ii. 197; at 
Charleston convention, ii. 272; 
career, appearance, and ability 
of, ii. 272. 
Colden, Cadwallader D., ancestry 
and character, i. 56, 117; dis- 
trict attorney, i. 117, 179; 
prophecy as to inland naviga- 
tion in New York, i. 241; re- 
moved as mayor of New York 
City, i. 287; an Anti-Mason, 
i. 370. 

Coleman, William, editor of 
Evening Post, i. 117; clerk of 
circuit court, i. 117; chal- 
lenged by Cheetham, i, 128; 
kills Cheetham's friend, i. 128. 

CoUes, Christopher, navigation 
of Mohawk Eiver, i. 242. 

Collier, John A., desired to be 
governor in 1842, ii. 51; nomi- 
nated Fillmore for Vice Presi- 
dent, ii. 137; career of, ii. 138; 
candidate for United States 
Senate, ii. 145. 

Columbia College, DeWitt Clin- 
ton in its first class, i. 108. 

Committee of Fifty, difEerences 
with Committee of Fifty-one, 
i. 2; assumed leadership of, 
i. 2. 

Committee of Fifty-one, opposes 
Committee of Fifty, i. 2. 

Committee of One Hundred, 
made up of Committees of 
Fifty and Fifty-one, i. 4. 

Committee of Sixty, substituted 
for Committee of Fifty-one, i. 

Compromises of 1850, character 
of, ii. 151. 

Comstock, George F., nominated 
for Court of Appeals, ii. 215; 
character and ability of, ii. 
215-6; elected, ii. 219. 

Confederation, pitiable condition 
of, i. 28. 

Confederation, Articles of, im- 
potent to regulate commerce, 
i. 29; Hamilton on revision, i. 
29; convention called for re- 
vision, i. 29. 

Congress, Continental, recom- 
mends a war government, i. 1. 

Congress, Provincial, takes 
place of Provincial Assembly, 
i. 4; meets in 1776, i. 5; adopts 
new name, i. 5; continues com- 
mon law of England, i. 5. 

Conkling, Eoscoe, ambitious to 
be attorney-general, ii. 187; 
early career of, ii. 187; de- 
feated by Ogden Hoffman, ii. 
188; on Whig convention of 
1854, ii. 201; in campaign of 
1858, ii. 251; ability as 
speaker, ii. 251; his muscle, ii. 
251; stigmatises Democratic 



state peace convention, ii. 357, 
note; commends Clinton's 
loyalty, ii. 357, note; lack of 
tact, ii. 389. 

Conservative Democrats, first 
called Hunkers, ii. 95. 

Conservatives, faction of Demo- 
cratic party, ii. 52, 126; fa- 
voured using surplus for 
canals, ii. 52, 126; leaders of, 
ii. 53, 126; called Hunkers in 
1845, ii. 126; see Hunkers. 

Constitutional convention, first 
one, i. 5-14; men composing it, 
i. 5; assembles at Kingston in 
1777, i. 5; delegates elected 
by people, i. 5; recess, i. 6; 
reassembles, i. 6; Jay drafts 
constitution, i. 6; number of 
members, i. 13; leader of radi- 
cals, i. 13; hasty adjournment 
of, i. 14. 

Second one, i. 115-6; assem- 
bles at Albany in 1801, i. 115; 
purpose of, i. 115; Burr its 
president, i. 115. 

Third one, i. 298-311; assem- 
bles in 1821; i. 298; distin- 
guished delegates, i. 298; 
Bucktail body, i. 298; Tomp- 
kins its president, i. 299; Van 
Buren its leader, i. 298; re- 
forms demanded, i. 299-310; 
freehold suffrage, i. 299-302; 
compromise suffrage, i. 299- 
302; negro suffrage, i. 299-300; 
suffrage to elect state sena- 
tors, i. 300-1; suffrage settled, 
i. 301; Van Buren, speech of, 
i. 302; sentiment against old 
judges, i. 302; bitter words, i. 
303; Van Buren a peace-maker, 
i. 304; former judges finally 
abolished, i. 306; -what con- 
vention substituted, i. 305; 
justices of peace, i. 308-10; 
constitution ratified, i. 311; 
summary of changes made, i. 

Fourth one, ii. 103-13; as- 
sembles, ii. 103; prominent 
delegates, ii. 103-4; absence of 
Se-ward, ii. 104-5; Greeley 
failed of election, ii. 105; popu- 
lar sovereignty in, ii. 105-6; 
limited power of property, ii. 

107; rights of negro, ii. 107; 
state indebtedness, ii. 107-9; 
elective judiciary, ii. 109-12; 
established Court of Appeals, 
ii. Ill; ratified, ii. 113. 

Constitution, Federal, conven- 
tion called, i. 29; draft sent 
to legislatures, i. 32; riots in 
New York, i. 32; Clinton's op- 
position, i. 32; Hamilton on, 
i. 32; convention to ratify, i. 
33; held at Poughkeepsie, i. 
33; sacrifices of New York, i. 
34; people's dislike of, i. 34; 
date of ratification, i. 35; vote 
on, i. 36; ofBcially proclaimed, 
i. 36. 

Constitution, State, drafted by 
Jay, i. 8; in Jay's handwrit- 
ing, i. 13; when and how re- 
ported, i. 13-15; approved by 
New England, i. 15; conserva- 
tive, i. 15; not ratified by peo- 
ple, i. 15; amended in 1801, i. 
115; new one adopted in 1821, 
i. 299-310; broadened suffrage, 
i. 299-302; popularised the 
judiciary, i. 302-6; elective 
officers, i. 307-10; changes 
made, i. 311; ratified, i. 311; 
new one adopted in 1846, ii, 
103-13; known as People's Con- 
stitution, ii. 113. 

Constitutional Union party, 
organised in 1860, ii. 326; Bell 
and Everett, ii. 326; platform 
of, ii. 326; fuses with Softs, ii. 
326; scheme assailed, ii. 327. 

Cook, Bates, state comptroller, 
ii. 36. 

Cook, James M., nominated 
comptroller of state, ii. 188; 
ambitious to be governor in 
1858, ii. 247. 

Corning, Erastus, at Charleston 
convention, ii. 272; at peace 
congress, ii. 350. 

Cornwell, George J., nominated 
for lieutenant-governor i n 
1850, ii. 154. 

Cotton Whigs, followers of Fill- 
more, ii. 165; favourable to 
South, ii. 165. 

Council of Appointment, sug- 
gested by Adams, i. 8; how 
elected, i. 11; proposed by Jay, 



i. 11; account of, i. 11, note; 
bung-ling compromise, i. 12; a 
political machine, i. 61; Jay's 
interpretation of, i. 62; offices 
controlled by, i. 62; Clinton 
controls it, i. 107; modified in 
1801, i. 115-6; reduced gov- 
ernor to a figurehead, i. 119; 
abolished in 1821, i. 311. 

Council of Revision, created by 
first Constitution, i. 10; mem- 
bership of, i. 10; failure to act, 
i. 10; model for, i. 10. 

Council of Safety, appointed by 
first constitutional convention, 
i. 16; orders election of gov- 
ernor, i. 17. 

Court of Appeals, established in 
1846, ii. 111. 

Court of Errors and Impeach- 
ment, created by first Consti- 
tution, i. 12; composed of, i. 
12; model for, i. 12. 

Court, Supreme, judges of, i. 12; 
members of Council of Re- 
vision, i. 10; how created, i. 

Crane, William C, defeated for 
speaker, ii. 90; contest over 
constitutional convention, ii. 

Crary, John, nominated for lieu- 
tenant-governor, in 1828, i. 363; 
unfaithful, i. 363-4; defeated, 
i. 368. 

Cravsfford, William H., favoured 
for President in 1816, i. 237; 
character of, i. 237. 

Crittenden Compromise, similar 
to Weed's, ii. 340; not ne^w to 
Congress, ii. 341; Greeley on, 
ii. 341; Dix on, ii. 341; Senate 
Committee of Thirteen, ii. 341- 
2; Republicans opposed it, ii. 
342; its failure led to civil war, 
ii. 342; Lincoln opposed, ii. 
344; majority of voters fa- 
vour, ii. 347; petitions for, ii. 

Crittenden, John J., author of 
compromise, ii. 340; like Weed, 
ii. 340; Nestor of United States 
Senate, ii. 340; weeps when 
Seward speaks, ii. 378. 

Croswell, Edwin, editor Argus, i. 
294; lieutenant of Van Buren, 

i. 345; opens the way for 
Jackson, i. 357; gifts and 
career of, i. 374, ii. 56-7; met 
Weed in boyhood, i. 374; rival 
editors estranged, i. 375; seeks 
Weed's aid In trouble, i. 375; 
associates of, ii. 1; reappointed 
state printer, ii. 56-7; ability 
and leadership, Ii. 58-9; after 
Van Buren's defeat, ii. 74, 83; 
slippery-elm editor, ii. 84; 
supports Seymour for speaker, 
ii. 91; defeats Young, ii. 92; 
election of United States sena- 
tors, ii. 93; shrewd tactics, ii. 
94-5; part in Wright's defeat, 
ii. 123; retires from active life, 
ii. 134. 

Curtis, Edward, elected to Con- 
gress, ii. 16. 

Curtis, George William, in cam- 
paign of 1856, ii. 240; early 
career of, ii. 240; refined 
rhetoric, ii. 240; on Kansas 
struggle, ii. 241; at Chicago 
convention, ii. 282; eloquence 
of, 282. 

Davis, David, Lincoln's manager 
at Chicago convention, ii. 288. 

Davis, Jefferson, sharp contro- 
versy with Douglas, ii. 279-80; 
reasons for secession, ii. 375-6. 

Davis, Matthew L., urged for ap- 
pointment by Burr, i. 121; 
literary executor of Burr, i. 
145; leader of the Burrites, i. 
152; bitter opponent of DeWitt 
Clinton, i. 181. 

Dayton, Jonathan, member 
Council of Appointment, i. 231. 

Dayton, William L., nominated 
for Vice President, ii. 229. 

Dearborn, Henry, in command 
on Canadian border, i. 221; 
career and character of i. 221; 
plan of campaign, i. 221; fail- 
ure of, i. 222; offers to resign, 
i. 222; further failures, i. 223; 
retires, i. 223. 

Delegate conventions, beginning' 
of, i. 250; prototype of modem 
convention, i. 327, 331. 

Democratic party, organised by 
Van Buren, i. 349, 350, 365; its 
first national convention, i. 



391; opposes United States 
Bank, i. 393; triumph of, i. 
396; sweeps State in 1834, i. 
404; again in 1836, ii. 13-14; 
first defeat, ii. 29; defeat in 

1840, ii. 45; recovers State in 

1841, ii. 47; divided into Radi- 
cals and Conservatives, ii. 52, 
126; leaders of, ii. 53, 126; Radi- 
cals called Barnburners, ii. 
126; Conservatives called 
Hunkers, ii. 126; Seymour 
unites two factions, ii. 149; 
nominated Seymour for gov- 
ernor in 1850, ii. 156; defeated, 
ii. 158; united in 1852, ii. 169- 
78; carried State, ii. 178; again 
splits into Hunkers and Barn- 
burners, ii. 180-5; factions 
called Hards and Softs, ii. 185; 
defeated by split, ii. 189; split 
continued by repeal of Mis- 
souri Compromise, ii. 195; 
united again, ii. 232; Wood 
captures state convention, ii. 
257; Hards yield to Softs, ii. 
258; indorses Buchanan and 
popular sovereignty, ii. 258. 

Democratic peace convention, ii. 
354-8; met at Albany, ii. 354; 
Greeley on, ii. 354; utterances 
of Seymour, Parker, Clinton, 
and others, ii. 355-8. 

Denio, Hiram, nominated for 
Court of Appeals, ii. 184 ; char- 
acter of, ii. 184; elected, ii. 189. 

Dennison, Robert, report on 
canal, ii. 60-1. 

DeWitt, Simeon, surveys route 
for canal, i. 242; estimated 
cost, i. 242; long career as 
surveyor-general, i. 321. 

Dickinson, Andrew B., career of, 
ii. 399, note; appointed by 
Seward, ii. 399; reasons for, ii. 
400; criticised by Greeley, ii. 
401; gratitude to Seward, ii. 
401, note. 

Dickinson, Daniel S., leading 
Conservative, ii. 53; ability of, 
ii. 53; nominated for lieu- 
tenant-governor in 1840, ii. 54; 
defeated, ii. 54; at Baltimore 
convention, ii. 72; declined re- 
nomination for lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, ii. 78; elected United 

States Senator, ii. 93; approves 
compromise of 1850, ii. 152; 
wishes to be President in 1852, 
ii. 169-72; opposes Seymour's 
candidacy for governor, ii. 
172-3; afterward supports him, 
ii. 177; indorsed by Hunkers 
in 1853, ii. 183; ambitious to 
be President in 1860, ii. 256; 
called "Scripture Dick," ii. 257; 
character of, ii. 257; yields to 
the Softs, ii. 258; at Charles- 
ton convention, ii. 276 and 
note, 278; attacks Richmond, 
ii. 302-3; record as to slavery, 
ii. 303-4 and note; hallucina- 
tion of, ii. 304; speech at state 
convention of Hards, ii. 324-5; 
opposes fusion with Softs, ii. 

Dillingham, William H., class- 
mate of Talcott, i. 290; Tal- 
cott's eloquence, i. 290. 

Dix, John A., member of Albany 
Regency, i. 294; secretary of 
state, ii. 1; early career of, ii. 
2; in war of 1812, ii. 2; re- 
signs from army, ii. 2; gifts 
of, ii. 2; writes for Argus, ii. 
2; his books, ii. 3; where edu- 
cated, ii. 3; compared with 
Butler, ii. 3; superintendent 
of schools, ii. 4; elected to 
United States Senate, ii. 93; a 
Barnburner, ii. 132; nominated 
for governor in 1848, ii. 133, 
139; regret of, ii. 133, note; 
defeated, ii. 144; Seward suc- 
ceeds him in United States 
Senate, ii. 145; supports 
Pierce in 1852, ii. 177, 178, 
note; Pierce oilers him sec- 
retaryship of state, ii. 181, 352; 
substitutes it for mission to 
France, ii. 182, 352; beaten by 
intrigue, ii. 182, note; favoured 
Crittenden Compromise, ii. 341; 
postmaster at New York City, 
ii. 352; secretary of treasury, 
4.i. 352-3, note; historic des- 
patch, ii. 352; favoured peace- 
able secession, ii. 353; resided 
at White House, ii. 354. 

Dodge, William E., at peace con- 
gress, ii. 350; delivers peace 
petition, ii. 381. 



Dorsheimer, Philip, on Softs' 
convention in 1854, ii. 198. 

Doug-las-Bell-Breckenridge f u - 
sion, ii. 331; aided by money, 
ii. 331-2. 

Doug-las, Stephen A., denounces 
Kansas immigrants, ii. 224; 
Harriet Beecher Stowe on, ii. 
224; breaks with Buchanan, ii. 
246; Greeley favours him for 
United States Senator, ii. 247; 
suggested by Bepublicans for 
President, ii. 247; sharp con- 
troversy with Davis, ii. 279-80; 
nominated for President^, ii. 
301; fusion of, ii. 331; de- 
feated, ii. 333. 

Doug-lass, Frederick, nominated 
for secretary of state, ii. 216; 
career and character of, ii. 216. 

Draper, Simeon, unavailable to 
stand for governor, ii. 247. 

Duane, James, in first constitu- 
tional convention, i. 5; in 
Poughkeepsie convention, i. 
33; campaign of 1789, i. 42; 
character and career, i. 42; ap- 
pointed United States judge, i. 

Dudley, Charles E., member of 
Albany Eegency, i. 294; in 
United States Senate, i. 383; 
character of, i. 383. 

Duer, William, in campaign of 
1789, i. 42; career and char- 
acter of, i. 42; in campaign of 
1792, i. 54. 

Duer, William A., son of Wil- 
liam, i. 42, note. 

Duer, William A., son of Wil- 
liam A., friend of President 
Fillmore, ii. 155. 

Ellicott, Joseph, resigns as canal 
commissioner, i. 261. 

ElmendorfE, Lucas, removed 
Clinton from mayoralty, i. 

Ely, Alfred, in Congress, ii. 339, 
note; disapproves Weed's com- 
promise, ii. 339, note. 

Embargo, ordered by Jefferson, 
i. 163; opposed by the Clin- 
tons, i. 165, 168, 171; by Van 
Vechten and Cady, i. 169; de- 
fended by German and San- 

ford, i. 170-1, 174; repeal of, i. 

Emmet, Thomas Addis, brother 
of Robert Emmet, i. 183; his 
coming to America, i. 183-4; 
attorney-general, i. 213; re- 
moved, i. 213; request in Clin- 
ton's behalf, i. 221; resents 
Clinton's removal as canal 
commissioner, i. 329. 

Emmet, Robert, son of Thomas 
Addis Emmet, i. 357; sent to 
Assembly in 1827, i. 357; chair- 
man Republican national con- 
vention in 1856, ii. 232; on 
Seward, ii. 232. 

England, cause of trouble with 
America, i. 2. 

Equal Eights party, history of, 
ii. 16. 

Erie canal, early views and sur- 
veys of, i. 241-3; discourage- 
ments, i. 242; no help from 
Congress, i. 243; Tompkins 
does not favour, i. 246; op- 
posed by Tammany, i. 251; sup- 
ported by Van Buren, i. 251; 
bill passed, i. 251; sentiment 
in its favour, i. 252; work on, 
began, i. 252; its progress, i. 
253 ; Tammany's opposition 
silenced, i. 261-2; opened be- 
tween Utica and Rome, i. 327; 
Utica and Montezuma, i. 327; 
opening of in 1825, i. 345; 
Seward on, ii. 34-5-6; cost of 
in 1862, ii. 36; policy of en- 
largement, ii. 49-50; Demo- 
crats divided, ii. 52; stop and 
tax law of 1842, ii. 54; esti- 
mated and actual cost of, ii. 
60; Seymour's prophecy, ii. 
63-4; how affected by constitu- 
tion of 1846, ii. 107-9; nine 
million loan unconstitutional, 
ii. 163; constitution amended, 
ii. 183; loan of ten and one- 
half millions, ii. 183-4; boast 
of Whigs, ii. 188. 

Evarts, William M., at Chicago 
convention in 1861, ii. 283; pre- 
sents Seward's name, ii. 288; 
moved to make Lincoln's nomi- 
nation unanimous, ii. 289; 
witty remark to Curtis, ii. 289; 
letter to Lincoln, 11. 349, note; 



candidate for United States 
Senate, ii. 361; career and 
gifts of, li. 361-2; work at 
Chicago, ii. 362; contest for 
senator, ii. 363-5; forces went 
to Harris, 363-5, note. 

Farrington, Thomas, defeated 
for attorney-general, ii. 92. 

Federalists, "high-minded," who 
composed them, i. 273; oppose 
Clinton's re-election in 1820, i. 
279; declared Federal party 
dissolved, i. 279. 

Federalist, The, written largely 
by Hamilton, i. 32; its influ- 
ence, i. 32. 

Federalists, The, alarmed at de- 
lay of ratification of Federal 
Constitution, i. 35; reasons for, 
i. 35; organisation of party, i. 
38; nominate Yates for gov- 
ernor, i. 38; counted out, 
i. 56; anger of, i. 59-60; elect 
Jay governor, i. 65; re-elect 
him, i. 82; lose New York in 
1800, i. 91; indorse Burr for 
President, i. 101; refuse to 
read the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, i. 176; support Clin- 
ton for President in 1812, i. 
202-8; oppose war of 1812, i. 
219-30; favour a New England 
confederacy, i. 227-8; support 
Clinton for governor in 1817, i. 
247, 252; get no appointments, 
i. 255; aid Clinton's choice for 
speaker, i. 258; King predicts 
party split, .i. 259; controlled 
by Clinton, i. 267; sons of 
Hamilton and King declare 
party dissolved, i. 279-80. 

Fellows, Henry, dishonest treat- 
ment of, i. 256. 

Fenton, Eeuben E., at birth of 
Eepublican party, ii. 211; 
career and character of, ii. 
212; re-elected to Congress, ii. 
Field, David D., a Barnburner, 
ii. 131; at Utica convention, ii. 
131; family of, ii. 244; code of 
civil procedure, ii. 244; candi- 
date for United States Senate, 
ii. 244; defeated, ii. 244; dele- 
gate to peace congress, ii. 

350; on committee on resolu- 
tions, ii. 358; opposed change 
in constitution, ii. 359; con- 
troversy over, ii. 359. 
Fillmore, Millard, youth and 
career of, i. 371; a Weed lieu- 
tenant, i. 372; less faithful 
than Seward to Weed, i. 379; 
defeated for United States 
Senate, ii. 38; nominated for 
governor in 1844, ii. 79-80; com- 
pared with Wright, ii. 80-1; 
confident of election, ii. 88; de- 
feated, ii. 89; elected State 
comptroller, ii. 127; nominated 
for Vice President in 1848, ii. 
137-8; elected, ii. 143; breaks 
with Weed, ii. 148; becomes 
President, ii. 151; approves the 
fugitive slave law, ii. 151-2; 
opposes Seward's indorse- 
ment, ii. 153; Fish on, ii. 166; 
not nominated for President, 
ii. 166-8; career after defeat, 
ii. 168-9; nominated for Presi- 
dent by Americans, ii. 238; in- 
dorsed by old-line Whigs, ii. 
238; condemned Eepublican 
party, ii. 238; defeated, ii. 
242; helped Buchanan's elec- 
tion, ii. 242. 

Financial crisis, cause of, in 
1837, ii. 16-20. 

Fish, Hamilton, nominated for 
lieutenant-governor in 1846, ii. 
118; defeated, ii. 120; elected 
lieutenant-governor in 1847, ii. 
128; nominated for governor 
in 1848, ii. 139; popularity of, 
ii. 139; career of, ii. 140; 
elected governor, ii. 144; 
elected United States senator, 
ii. 162; on Fillmore, ii. 166; 
relations with Conkling, ii. 
243; not returned to United 
States Senate, ii. 243; approves 
Weed's compromise, ii. 338. 

Fish, Nicholas, nominated for 
lieutenant-governor, i. 173; 
father of Hamilton Fish, i. 
173; character of, i. 173; popu- 
larity of, i. 185; defeated for 
lieutenant-governor, i. 185. 

Flagg, Azariah, member of Al- 
bany Eegency, i. 294; member 
of Assembly, i. 325; career and 



character of, i. 326; appear- 
ance, i. 326; opposes election 
of presidential electors, i. 326; 
insists on Yates' renomination, 
i. 326; comptroller of State, ii. 
52; leader of Radicals, ii. 58; 
against Seymour for speaker, 
ii. 90; re-elected comptroller, 
ii. 92. 
Foote, Ebenezer, resents meth- 
ods of Council, 1. 120-1; char- 
acter of, i. 120; Ambrose 
Spencer on, i. 120. 
Ford, Elijah, nominated for 
lieutenant-governor by the 
Hards, ii. 203; ran ahead of 
ticket, ii. 203. 
Fort Niagara, captured by Brit- 
ish, i. 224; Morgan left in 
magazine of, i. 359. 
Foster, Henry A., character of, 
ii. 53; leading conservative, ii. 
59; president of State Senate, 
ii. 59; formidable in debate, ii. 
Foster, John W., opinion of 

Jay's treaty of 1795, i. 67. 
Fowler, Isaac V., defalcation as 

postmaster, ii. 352, note. 
Fowler, John Walker, brother of 
Isaac v., absconds with trust 
funds, ii. 352, note. 
France, threatens war, i. 81-2; 
preparations to resist by the 
United States, i. 83-4. 
Franklin. Walter, father of De- 
Witt Clinton's wife, i. 183. 
Free-soil Movement, principles 
proclaimed, ii. 127; see Barn- 
Fremont, John C, nominated 
for President, ii. 228-9; de- 
feated, ii. 241. 
Fuller, Philo C, career and char- 
acter of, i. 371; a Weerl lieu- 
tenant, i. 371; clerk in Wads- 
worth's office, i. 371. 
Fulton, Robert, history of steam 
navigation, i. 74-7; associated 
with R. R. Livingston, i. 77. 
Furnian, Gabriel, nominated for 
lieutenant-governor in 1842, ii. 
52; character of, ii. 52; de- 
feated, ii. 55. 
Fusion ticket, in 1860, ii. 331-2; 
money given for it, ii. 332-3. 

Gardiner, Addison, nominated 
for lieutenant-governor, ii. 
78; career and character of, ii. 
78, 233; Weed's friendship for, 
ii. 7S; elected, ii. 89; renomi- 
nated for lieutenant-governor, 
ii. 116; elected, ii. 120; on 
Court of Appeals, ii. 128; gave 
way to Parker for governor, ii. 

Garrison, Cornelius K., delegate 
to seceding States, ii. 351-2. 

Garrison, William Lloyd, meets 
Lundy, ii. 5; early career of, 
ii. 5-10. 

German, Qbadiah, leader of As- 
sembly, i. 149; charges Purdy 
with bribery, i. 149, 190; gifts 
and character of, i. 170; de- 
fends embargo, i. 170, 174; 
career of, i. 170; in United 
States Senate, i. 170; supports 
Clinton for President, i. 202; 
becomes speaker, 1. 258-9; re- 
sents attacks on Clinton, i. 
266; manner of speaking, i. 

Governor, candidates for, George 
Clinton, 1777, i. 21; 1780, 1783, 
1786, i. 37; 1789, i. 44; 1792, 
i. 50; 1801, i. 115: Robert 
Yates, 1789, i. 38; 1795, i. 64: 
John Jay, 1792, i. 50; 1795, i. 
64; 1798, i. 82: Stephen Van 
Rensselaer, 1801, i. 115: Aaron 
Burr, 1804, i. 131: Morgan 
Lewis, 1804, i. 136; 1807, i. 161: 
Daniel D. Tompkins, 1807, i. 
155; 1810, i. 173; 1813, i. 223; 
1816, i. 236; 1820, i. 274: Jonas 
Piatt, 1810, i. 173: Stephen Van 
Rensselaer, 1813, i. 213: Rufus 
King, 1816, i. 236: DeWitt 
Clinton, 1817, i. 250; 1820, i. 
279; 1824, i. 330; 1826, i. 350: 
Peter B. Porter, 1817, i. 251: 
Joseph G. Yates, 1822, i. 312: 
Solomon Southwick, 1822, i. 
316; 1828, i. 364: Samuel 
Young, 1824, i. 327: William B. 
Rochester, 1826, i. 350: Martin 
Van Buren, 1828, i. 364: Smith 
Thompson, 1828, i. 362: Enos 
T. Throop, 1830, i. 376: Francis 
Granger, 1830, i. 376; 1832, i. 
393: William L. Marcy, 1832, 



i. 394; 1834, i. 403; 1836, ii. 11; 
1838, ii. 23: William H. Seward, 
1834, i. 402; 1838, ii. 19; 1840, 
ii. 42: Jesse Buel, 1836, ii. 12: 
William C. Bouck, 1840, ii. 54; 
1842, ii. 54: Luther Bradish, 
1842, ii. 51: Silas Wright, 
1844, ii. 78; 1846, ii. 115: Mil- 
lard Fillmore, 1844, ii. 79: Al- 
van Stewart, 1844, ii. 82: John 
Young, 1846, ii. 118: Hamil- 
ton Fish, 1848, ii. 139; John 
A. Dix, 1848, ii. 133: Keuben 
H. Walworth, 1848, ii. 134: Wil- 
liam L. Chaplin, 1850, ii. 156: 
Horatio Seymour, 1850, ii. 156; 
1852, ii. 172; 1854, ii. 197: 
Washington Hunt, 1850, ii. 
154; 1852, ii. 173: Myron H. 
Clark, 1854, ii. 199: Greene C. 
Bronson, 1854, ii. 196: Daniel 
UUman, 1854, ii. 202: Amasa J. 
Parker, 1856, ii. 232; 1858, ii. 
249: Erastus Brooks, 1856, ii. 
238: John A. King, 1856, ii. 
236: Edwin D. Morgan, 1858, 
ii. 248; 1860, ii. 328: Lorenzo 
Burrows, 1858, ii. 249: Wil- 
liam Kelley, 1860, ii. 326: 
James T. Brady, 1860, ii. 
Governor, stepping stone to 
President, i. 80; compared 
with United States senator, i. 
Governor, powers under Consti- 
tution of 1777, i. 10. 
Governors, names and service 
of, George Clinton, 1777-95, i. 
21, 37, 44; John Jay, 1795-1801, 
i. 64, 82; George Clinton, 1801-4, 
i.60, 115; Morgan Lewis, 1804-7, 
i. 136, 161; Daniel D. Tomp- 
kins, 1807-17, i. 155, 173, 233, 
236; DeWitt Clinton, 1817-23, i. 
250, 279; Joseph G. Yates, 
1823-5, i. 312; DeWitt Clinton, 
1825-8, i. 330, 350; Nathaniel 
Pitcher (acting), 1828-9, i. 366; 
Martin Van Buren, 1829, i. 304; 
Enos T. Throop, 1829-33, i. 366, 
376; William L. Marcy, 1833-9, 
i. 394, 403, ii. 11; William H. 
Seward, 1839-43, ii. 19, 42; Wil- 
liam C. Bouck, 1843-5, ii. 54; 
Silas Wright, 1845-7, ii. 78; 

John Young, 1847-9, ii. 118; 
Hamilton Fish, 1849-51, ii. 139; 
Washington Hunt, 1851-3, ii, 
154; Horatio Seymour, 1853-5,. 
ii. 172; Myron H. Clark, 1855-7,. 
ii. 199; John A. King, 1857-9, 
ii. 236; • Edwin D. Morgan, 
1859-63, ii. 248, 328. 

Graham, Theodore V. W., re- 
moved as recorder, i. 179. 

Granger, Francis, nominated for 
Assembly, i. 358; Weed on, i. 
361; Seward on, i. 361, note; 
career of, i. 361; opponent of 
John C. Spencer, i. 361; dress, 
appearance, and manners of, 
i. 361, and note; defeated 
for nomination for governor, 
i. 368; nominated lieutenant- 
governor, i. 368; defeated, 
i. 368; nominated for gov- 
ernor, by Anti-Masons i n 
1830, i. 376; indorsed by Na- 
tional Republicans, i. 376; a 
great mistake, i. 377; defeated, 
i. 377; nominated for gov- 
ernor in 1832, i. 393; reason 
for defeat, i. 396; elected to 
Congress in 1834, i. 402, 404; 
Seward on,i. 404; defeated for 
nomination for governor in 
1838, ii. 19-21; continued in 
Congress, ii. 47; postmaster- 
general, ii. 154; left Congress 
in 1843, ii. 154; in Utica con- 
vention, ii. 153; ally of Fill- 
more, ii. 154; leads Silver- 
Grays' secession, ii. 155; dele- 
gate to peace congress, ii. 350; 
friendship with Weed renewed,, 
ii. 350. 

Granger, Gideon, member of 
Madison cabinet, i. 202; sup- 
ports DeWitt Clinton for 
President, i. 202; character 
and career of, i. 202; father of 
Francis, i. 361. 
Greeley, Horace, edits the Jeffer- 
sonian, ii. 26; early career of, 
ii. 26; came to New York 
in 1821, ii. 26; political condi- 
tions, ii. 27; first meeting with 
Weed, ii. 28; gifts of, ii. 29; 
relations with Weed, ii. 32; 
failed of election to constitu- 
tional convention of 1846, ii. 



105; chafes under Weed's con- 
trol, ii. 116; elected to Con- 
gress in 1848, ii. 138; assails 
Castle Garden meeting, ii. 157; 
at Anti-Nebraska c o n t e n - 
tion, ii. 194; wants to be gov- 
ernor, ii. 198; appeals to Weed, 
j). 198, note; offended at Ray- 
mond's nomination, ii. 199, 
200; favoured a Republican 
party in 1854, ii. 200; at birth 
of Republican party in 1855, ii. 
213; active in 1856, ii. 240; fa- 
vours Douglas for United 
States senator, ii. 247; dislike 
of Seward, ii. 247; at Chicago 
convention, ii. 286; Seward and 
Weed think him faithful, ii. 
284, note, 286, note; for Bates 
for President, ii. 287; jubilant 
over Seward's defeat, ii. 289- 
90; reply to Raymond, ii. 308- 
9; demands his letter of 1854, 
ii. 310; publishes it, ii. 311-17; 
character of campaign in 
1860, ii. 332; peaceable seces- 
sion, ii. 335-6; "no compro- 
mise" theory, ii. 343; defeated 
for United States Senate by 
Weed, ii. 363-5, note; reasons 
for, ii. 365, note; Tribune on, ii. 
366; persistent office-seeker, ii. 
366; charges Seward with fa- 
vouring Weed's compromise, ii. 
380, 382; criticised Seward's 
appointments, ii. 399; as to 
Dickinson, ii. 398, 401; rela- 
tions with Lincoln not cordial, 
ii. 402-3. 

Green, Beriah, early abolitionist, 
ii. 7. 

Crinnell, Moses H., at Anti- 
Nebraska convention, ii. 194; 
declined nomination for gov- 
ernor in 1856, ii. 234; career 
and character of, ii. 234-5; ap- 
proves Weed's compromise, ii. 

Gross, Ezra C, gifts of, i. 358; 
eloquence of, i. 358; death of, 
i. 358. 

Haight, Jacob, treasurer of 
state, ii. 36. 

Hale, Daniel, removed as secre- 
tary of state, i. 179. 

Hall, Willis, attorney-general, ii. 
36; character of, ii. 37. 

Halleck, Fitz-Greene, Tammany 
song, i. 182. 

Hamilton, early life of, i. 3; 
speech at age of seventeen, i. 
3; compared with William 
Pitt, i. 3; association with 
Washington, i. 25; at York- 
town, i. 26; Washington on, i. 
26; admitted to the bar, i. 26; 
defends Tories, i. 26; opposes 
Clinton, i. 26; collection of 
duties by Congress, i. 27-8; at 
Annapolis, i. 29; revision of 
Articles of Confederation, i. 
29; reasons for Clinton's op- 
position, i. 29; delegate to 
amend Articles, i. 29; his 
plan, i. 31; supports Madison 
plan, i. 31; sigfns Federal Con- 
stitution, i. 31; Clinton re- 
proves him, i. 31; ratification 
of Constitution, i. 31; elo- 
quence and influence of, i. 
31-6; fear of disunion, i. 35; 
hears from Virginia and New 
Hampshire, i. 35; criticism of 
Clinton, i. 36; on Robert Yates 
for governor, i. 38-40; failure 
of coalition, i. 44; control of 
Federal patronage, i. 44; secre- 
tary of the treasury, i. 44; first 
meeting with Burr, i. 45; 
opinion of Washington, i. 46; 
legend as to Burr and, i. 46; 
opposed by E. R. Livingston, 
i. 48; reasons for it, i. 48; de- 
feat of Schuyler, i. 49; Jay's 
nomination for governor, i. 
50; assumption of state debts, 
i. 53; Jay's renomination for 
governor, i. 65; Jay's treaty 
with England, i. 65-6; as- 
saulted by a mob, i. 65; elec- 
tion of April, 1800, i. 90; Alien- 
Sedition laws, i. 90; meets 
Burr at the polls, i. 91; cour- 
tesy of, i. 91; style of oratory, 
i. 91; Root's opinion of, i. 91; 
party defeated, i. 91; election 
of presidential electors, i. 92; 
breaks with Adams, i. 94; 
reason for, i. 94; ugly letter 
opposing Adams, i. 96; prefers 
Jefferson to Adams, i. 96; 



great mistake, i. 97; urges 
Federalists to oppose Burr, i. 
99-101; hoped DeWitt Clinton 
■would become a Federalist, 
i. 108; earnings as a lawyer, i. 
132; Spencer's estimate of, i. 
132; Root's estimate of, i. 132; 
argues Croswell case, i. 132; 
Kent's opinion of, 1. 132-3; pre- 
fers Lansing to Burr, i. 133-5; 
Burr, a leader of secession, i. 
134; disapproves disunion, i. 
134; Lansing's withdrawal, i. 
136; Burr's challenge, i. 139- 
40; an imperious custom, i. 
140-1; his defence for fighting, 
i. 141; duel and death, 1. 142-3; 
profound sorrow, i. 143; his 
career had he lived, 1. 143; 
charters United States Bank, 

I. 186. 

Hampton, Wade, in command at 
Plattsburgh, i. 224; character 
and fitness of, i. 224; failure 
of, i. 224; resigns, 1. 224. 

Hards, name of Democratic fac- 
tion, ii. 185; successors to the 
Hunkers, ii. 185; why so called, 
ii. 185; ticket defeated in 1853, 

II. 189; repeal of the Missouri 
Compromise, ii. 195; nominate 
Bronson for governor, 11. 196; 
defeated, ii. 203; refused to re- 
join Softs, il. 209; stand with 
South, ii. 210; welcomed at na- 
tional convention, 11. 226-8; 
unite with Softs, 11. 232; hold 
a separate state convention, ii. 
324; Brady nominated for gov- 
ernor, 11. 325; defeated, ii. 333. 

Hard times of 1837, cause and re- 
sult of, ii. 16-20; Van Buren's 
statesmanship, il. 41. 

Harris, Ira, career and char- 
acter of, ii. 117, 390; on Su- 
preme Court, ii. 117; in As- 
sembly, ii. 117; in constitu- 
tional convention of 1846, 11. 
117; supported Young for gov- 
ernor, il. 118; elected United 
States senator, ii. 365; appear- 
ance and ability of, 11. 390; 
associates of, 11. 390; with 
Sumner and Collamer, ii. 390; 
question of patronage, ii. 390, 

Harrison, Richard, member of 
Poughkeepsle convention, 1. 
33; United States attorney, 1. 
44; ability of, 1. 44. 
Harrison, William Henry, candi- 
date of northern Whigs in 
1836, 11. 11; nominated for 
President in 1840, ii. 40; 
elected, ii. 45. 
Hart, Ephralm, friend of De- 
Witt Clinton, i. 261; defeated 
for canal commissioner, 1. 261. 
Harvard University, Eufus King 

a graduate of, 1. 270. 
Haskin, John B., in Congress, 11. 
339, note; disapproves Weed's 
compromise, ii. 339, note. 
Hawley, Gideon, state superin- 
tendent of schools, 1. 288; 
record of, i. 288; dismissal of, 
1. 288. 
Headley, Joel T., career and 
character of, 11. 215; writer of 
biography, ii. 215; nominated 
for secretary of state, ii. 215; 
elected, ii. 218. 
Heenan, John C, "the Benlcia 
Boy," 11. 257; backs Wood in 
his capture of state conven- 
tion, 11. 257. 
Henry, John V., removed from 
comptrollershlp, 1. 117; resents 
methods of Council, 1. 119; 
character of, i. 119. 
Hlggins, Prank W., promoted 
from lieutenant-governor to 
governor, 1. 180. 
Hlldreth, Matthias B., appointed 
attorney-general, i. 179; death 
of, 1. 213. 
Hill, David B., promoted from 
lieutenant-governor to gov- 
ernor, 1. 180. 
Hill, Nicholas, ability of, 11. 390. 
Hobart, John Sloss, member 
first constitutional convention, 
1. 5; judge Supreme Court, 1. 
16; at Hartford convention, 1. 
28; member Poughkeepsle con- 
vention, 1. 33; retired from 
Supreme Court, i. 68; elected 
to United States Senate, 1. 
Hoffman, James O., recorder of 

New York, i. 179. 
HofEman, Josiah Ogden, lead3 



Federalists, i. 61; removed as 
attorney-general, i. 117. 

HoffmaD, Michael, leading- Radi- 
cal, ii. 52; career and char- 
acter of, ii. 52-3; defeated for 
speaker, ii. 59; power in de- 
bate, ii. 63; constitutional con- 
vention of 1846, ii. 9T-9; in con- 
stitutional convention, ii. 103; 
state indebtedness, ii. 107-9; 
Weed on, ii. 108. 

Hoffman, Ogden, son of Josiah 
Ogden Hoffman, i. 357; elo- 
quence of, i. 357; sent to As- 
sembly, i. 358; criminal law- 
yer, i. 358; nominated for 
attorney-general, ii. 187; gifts 
of, ii. 188; Greeley on, ii. 188. 

Holley, Orville L., surveyor-gen- 
eral, ii. 18, 36. 

Hubbard, Kuggles, member of 
Council, i. 231; attachment for 
Clinton, i. 234; character of, i. 

Hudson River "Valley, attracts 
New Englanders, i. 81. 

Humphrey, James, congressman, 
ii. 338, note; attacks Weed's 
compromise, ii. 338, note. 

Hunkers, Democratic faction so 
called, ii. 126; leaders of, ii. 
126-7; Barnburners secede 
from, ii. 127; lose the State in 
1847, ii. 127; in 1848, ii. 143; 
Seymour unites them with 
Barnburners, ii. 149; nominate 
Seymour for governor in 1850, 
ii. 156; defeated, ii. 158; sup- 
port Dickinson for President 
in 1852, ii. 169-72; support 
Pierce and Seymour in 1852, 
ii. 169-78; secede from Barn- 
burners in 1853, ii. 180-5; 
nominate separate ticket, ii. 
183; approve canal constitu- 
tional amendment, ii. 183; 
called Hardshells or Hards, ii. 
185; see Hards. 

Hunt, Alvah, elected state treas- 
urer, ii. 127-8. 

Hunt, Ward, candidate for 
United States Senate, ii. 244; 
brilliant career of, ii. 244. 

Hunt, Washington, on Clay's 
Alabama letter, ii. 88; elected 
state comptroller, ii. 150; 

nominated for governor in 
1850, ii. 154; indorsed by Sil- 
ver-Grays, ii. 156; elected, ii. 
158; calls extra session of 
Legislature, ii. 163; renomi- 
nated for governor, ii. 173; in- 
clined to Fillmore, ii. 173; de- 
feated, ii. 178; favours union 
of Republican and American 
parties, ii. 249; president of 
Constitutional Union party, ii. 
326; fuses party with Softs, ii. 
326; criticised by Greeley, ii. 
326-7; impaired value of fu- 
sion, ii. 327; declares inten- 
tion, ii. 327. 

Huntington, George, nominated 
for lieutenant-governor, i. 213. 

Hyer, Tom, noted pugulist, ii. 
281; at Chicago convention for 
Seward, ii. 281; leads street 
parade, ii. 281; fails to get into 
Wigwam, ii. 288. 

Independence, not thought of in 
1774, i. 2. 

"Infected district," of anti-Ma- 
sonry, western half of State, 
1. 360. 

IngersoU, Charles Jared, state- 
ment of, after war of 1812, i. 
230; on annexation of Texas, 
ii. 67. 

Irving, Peter, publisher of New 
York Chronicle, i. 123; sup- 
ports Burr, i. 123, 152. 

Jackson, Andrew, battle of New 
Orleans, i. 229; favoured by 
Clinton for President, i. 334-6; 
eulogises Clinton, i. 336; like- 
ness to Clinton, i. 336; Van 
Buren joins Clinton in sup- 
port of, i. 346; popularity of, 
i. 358; a Free Mason, i. 361; 
offer to United States Bank in 
1832, i. 393; refused by Clay 
and Webster, i. 393; vetoed 
its charter, i. 393; the issue in 
1832, i. 393; elected, i. 368; 
makes Van Buren secretary of 
state, i. 383; appoints Van 
Buren to England, i. 387; com- 
pels Van Buren's nomination 
for Vice President, i. 391; like- 
wise for President, ii. 4, 5; 



confidence in Van Buren in 
1844, ii. 69. 
James, Amaziah B., at peace 
congress, ii. 350; patriotism 
of, ii. 359. 
Jay, John, in first constitutional 
convention, i. 5; appointed to 
draft a state constitution, i. 6; 
age, i. 6; family of, 1. 6; mar- 
riage of, i. 6; Committee of 
Fifty-one, i. 6; delegate to first 
Continental Congress, i. 7; 
author of famous papers, i. 7; 
J.fEerson on, i. 7; drafts con- 
stitution, i. 7; proposed Coun- 
cil of Appointment, i. 12; ac- 
count of, i. 11, note; abolition 
of slavery, i. 14; withdraws 
from convention, i. 14; chief 
justice of State Supreme 
Court, i. 16; suggested for gov- 
ernor, i. 17; proposed Schuyler 
and Clinton for governor and 
lieutenant-governor, i. 20; ex- 
treme modesty of, i. 20; de- 
feated for delegate to consti- 
tutional convention of 1787, i. 
30; member of Poughkeepsie 
convention, i. 83; mentioned 
for governor, i. 37; chief jus- 
tice. United States Supreme 
Court, i. 44; nominated for 
governor in 1792, i. 50; previ- 
ous refusals, i. 51; career and 
character of, i. 51; buzz of 
presidential bee, i. 51; de- 
nounced as an aristocrat, i. 53; 
campaign abuse, i. 53-4; op- 
posed by the Livingstons, i. 
55; counted out, i. 56; anger 
of Federalists, i. 59-60; digni- 
fied conduct, i. 60; renomi- 
nated for governor, i. 64; 
elected, i. 65; treaty with Eng- 
land, i. 65; opposition to, i. 
65; burned in effigy, i. 65; first 
term as governor, i. 67; dodges 
the slavery question, i. 68; ap- 
points Kent and BadclifE to 
Supreme Court, i. 68; opposed 
for re-election by Livingston, 
i. 78; re-elected, i. 82; approves 
Alien-Sedition laws, i. 85; 
Hamilton's plan for electing 
presidential electors, i. 92; op- 
poses DeWitt Clinton, i. 110; 

refuses to reconvene Council 
of Appointment, i. 110; fails to 
recommend abolition of sla- 
very, i. Ill; close of career, i. 
111-114; character of, i. 112; 
crowning act of his life, i. 112; 
Canada in peace treaty of 1783, 
i. 112-3; declines reappoint- 
ment as chief justice of United 
States, i. 114; retires to his 
farm, i. 115; favours DeWitt 
Clinton for President, i. 203-5. 
Jay, Peter A., eldest son of John 
Jay, i. 273; recorder of New 
York City, i. 273; a thrust at 
high-minded Federalists, i. 
273; removed from office, i. 
Jefferson, Thomas, compliments 
Jay, i. 7; opinion of Burr, i. 
105; swift removals from 
office, i. 120; rewards the Liv- 
ingstons, i. 121; acts with Clin- 
ton in crushing Burr, i. 121; 
opposed Burr in 1804, i. 137; 
on Chesapeake affair, i. 163; 
orders embargo, i. 163; re- 
peals it, i. 179; opinion of 
Stephen Van Rensselaer, i. 
214; on Erie canal, i. 244. 
Jenkins, Elisha, reappointed sec- 
retary of state, i. 179. 
Jenkins, Timothy, career of, ii. 
247; ambitious to be governor 
in 1858, ii. 247. 
Johnson, William S., opposes 

Seward, ii. 147. 
Jones, Samuel, member of 
Poughkeepsie convention, i. 
33; supports Clinton for gov- 
ernor in 1789, i. 43; Kent on, i. 
43, note; first state comp- 
troller, i. 70. 
Jones, Samuel, son of the pre- 
ceding, i. 347; appointed chan- 
cellor, i. 347. 
Jordan, Ambrose L., in constitu- 
tional convention of 1846, ii. 
109; on elective judiciary, ii. 
110; gifts of, ii. 110; attorney- 
general, ii. 128. 

Kansas, efforts in behalf of sla- 
very, ii. 208; rifles from the 
North, ii. 222; border ruffians 
withdraw, ii. 223; Seward's 



bill to admit as a State, ii. 
223; more hostilities, ii. 223; 
Beeclier's Bibles, ii. 224; 
against Lecompton constitu- 
tion, ii. 246; action of free- 
state men, ii. 262; Wyandotte 
constitution, ii. 262. 
Kelley, William, nominated for 
governor by Softs in 1860, ii. 
326; career and character of, 
ii. 326; defeated, ii. 333; at 
Democratic state peace conven- 
tion, ii. 354. 
Kent, James, on Schuyler, i. 18; 
supports Jay in 1792, i. 55; 
personal appearance of, i. 55; 
on Supreme Court, i. 68; char- 
acter of, i. 68; reforms of, i. 
68; on Hamilton in Croswell 
ease, i. 132-3; on Hamilton's 
future had he lived, i. 143; on 
privateering, i. 265; answered 
by Young, i. 265-6; asked to 
stand for United States sena- 
tor, i. 286; in constitutional 
convention of 1821, i. 298; free- 
hold franchise, i. 299-300; 
heads electoral ticket in 1832, 
i. 393; law lectures, ii. 104; 
death of. ii. 125. 
Kent, William, son of the chan- 
cellor, ii. 31; calls Weed the 
"Dictator," ii. 31; candidate for 
lieutenant-governor in 1852, ii. 
173; career of, ii. 173-4; elector 
on fusion Democratic ticket in 
1860, ii. 326; criticised by 
Tribune, ii. 327. 
Keyser, Abraham, state treas- 
urer, ii. 1. 
King, John A., son of Eufus, i. 
259; on German's election as 
speaker, i. 259; predicts di- 
vision of Federal party, i. 259; 
resents Clinton's control of 
Federalists, i. 267; charges 
Van Ness with hypocrisy, i. 
268; president of Anti-Ne- 
braska convention, ii. 194; at 
birth of Republican party, ii. 
212; nominated for governor, 
ii. 236; character and career 
of, ii. 236-7; elected, ii. 241; at 
peace congress, ii. 350. 
King Park, Long Island, old 
home of Kufus King, i. 271. 

King, Preston, supports Wilmot 
Proviso, ii. 102, 126; career and 
character of, ii. 102; a Barn- 
burner, ii. 131; at Utica con- 
vention, ii. 131; supports 
Pierce and Seymour in 1852, 
ii. 177; withdraws from con- 
vention of Softs in 1854, ii. 
197; at birth of Republican 
party, ii. 214; nominated for 
secretary of state, ii. 214; 
elected United States senator, 
ii. 243-5; disapproves Weed's 
. compromise, ii. 339; question 

of patronage, ii. 390, 396. 
King, Kufus, United States sena- 
tor, i. 44; referee in Clinton- 
Jay contest, i. 57; minister to 
England, i. 70; disapproves 
disunion, i. 134; spoken of for 
governor in 1804, i. 137; candi- 
date for Vice President in 
1804, i. 147; candidate for Vice 
President in 1808, i. 166; de- 
feated, i. 167; opposes DeWitt 
Clinton for President, i. 202-6; 
elected United States senator, 
i. 211; charged with bargain, 
i. 211; nominated for governor 
in 1816, i. 236; strength of, i. 
236; defeated, i. 236; doubts 
feasibility of Erie canal, i. 244; 
votes cast for re-election to 
United States Senate, i. 267; 
resents Clinton's control oJE 
Federalists, i. 267; reasons for, 
i. 267; re-elected to United 
States Senate, i. 269; coura- 
geous stand of Van Buren for, 
i. 268-70; gifts, character, and 
career of, i. 270-2; supported 
war of 1812, i. 270; opposed 
Missouri Compromise of 1820, 
i. 272; known as champion of 
freedom, i. 272; relations with 
Van Buren, i. 272; declines to 
join Bucktail party, i. 272; ef- 
fort to prevent Tompkins' 
nomination, i. 277-9. 

King's (Columbia) College, Gou- 
verneur Morris a graduate of, 
i. 73. 

Kirkland, Charles S., in consti- 
tutional convention of 1846, ii. 
103; on elective judiciary, ii. 



Knott, Elipbalet, President 
Union College, li. 34. 

Knower, Benjamin, state treas- 
urer, i. 394; member of Al- 
bany Eegency, i. 294; go-be- 
tween of Van Buren and Clin- 
ton, i. 346, 348. 

Know-Nothing party, see Native 
American party. 

Lansing, Abraham G., removed 
as state treasurer, i. 165; cliar- 
acter of, i. 165; restored as 
treasurer, i. 172. 
Lansing, Garrett T., son of pre- 
ceding, i. 165; removed as mas- 
ter in chancery, i. 179. 
Lansing, John, Jr., delegate to 
amend Articles of Confedera- 
tion, i. 29; fitness for, i. 30; 
withdraws from convention, i. 
30; refuses to sign Federal 
Constitution, i. 31; member of 
Poughkeepsie convention, i. 
33; supports Clinton for gov- 
ernor in 1789, i. 43; appointed 
to Supreme Court, i. 45; story 
of his career, i. 129; made 
chancellor, i. 129; his murder, 
i. 130; selected for governor 
in 1804, i. 131; withdraws, i. 
136; reasons for, i. 152-3. 

Lavrrence, Cornelius V. E., 
candidate for mayor of New 
York in 1834, i. 400; first 
year mayor was elective, i. 
400; spirited contest, i. 400; 
elected, i. 401. 

Lawrence, John, elected to 
United States Senate, i. 70; 
career and character of, i. 70; 
prosecuted Major Andre, i. 70; 
marriage of, i. 70. 

Leavenworth, Elias W., nomi- 
nated for secretary of state, 
ii. 258. 

Lecompton constitution, char- 
acter of, ii. 246; Douglas on, 
ii. 246; see Kansas. 

Ledyard, Isaac, supports Burr 
for governor in 1792, i. 50. 

Lester, Albert, in canal debate, 
ii. 63. 

Lewis, Morgan, brother-in-law 
of Chancellor Livingston, i. 49; 
attorney-general, i. 49; chief 

justice Supreme Court, i. 115; 
nominated for governor in 
1804, i. 136; reasons for it, i. 
137; career of, i. 136-7; power- 
ful support, i. 137; elected, i. 
138; practises nepotism, i. 147, 
155, 156; favours Merchants' 
Bank, i. 148, 190; Clinton op- 
posed to, i. 149-50; secures 
Council, i. 154; removes Clin- 
ton from mayoralty, i. 154-5; 
opposed by Tompkins, i. 155; 
renominated for governor, i. 
161; defeated, i. 161; member 
of Council, i. 217; supports 
Eiker for Supreme Court, i. 
217; in war of 1812, i. 221; 
character as a soldier, i. 221; 
retires in disgrace, i. 225. 

L'Hommedieu, Ezra, in first con- 
stitutional convention, i. 5; 
ridicules Livingston's steam- 
boat, i. 76. 

Lieutenant-governorship, not 
necessarily stepping stone to 
governor, i. 180. 

Lincoln, Abraham, first meeting 
with Seward, ii. 143; defeated 
for nomination for Vice Presi- 
dent, ii. 229; lectures in New 
York City, ii. 262-4; Greeley 
on, ii. 263-4; defeats Critten- 
den compromise, ii. 344; Gree- 
ley's relations with, ii. 402-3. 

Lindenwald, Van Buren's home, 
ii. 45-6. 

Litchfield, Elisha, speaker of As- 
sembly, ii. 59; career and char- 
acter of ii. 59. 

Littlejohn, DeWitt C, speaker of 
Assembly, ii. 207; declares for 
Seward, ii. 207; opposes Gree- 
ley for United States Senate, 
ii. 364. 

Livingston, Brockholst, brother- 
in-law of Jay, i. 6, 79; on 
United States Supreme Court, 
i. 6; hostility to Jay, i. 79; 
cousin of Chancellor, i. 116; 
appointed to state Supreme 
Court, i. 116. 

Livingston, Charles L., speaker 
of Assembly, ii. 1. 

Livingston, Edward, resents 
Alien-Sedition laws, i. 84; ad- 
vised to give up Jefferson for 



Burr, i. 103; Burr thought him 
friendly, i. 103; practises de- 
ception, i. 103; United States 
attorney, i. 104, 121; defaulter, 
i. 104; mayor of New York, i. 
116; goes to New Orleans to 
reside, i. 150; secretary of 
state, ii. 1. 

Xivingston, Edward P., nomi- 
nated for lieutenant-gOTernor 
in 1830, i. 376; unpopular man- 
ners, i. 376; elected, i. 377; de- 
feated for renomination for 
lieutenant-governor in 1832, i. 

Xivingston, Gilbert, supports 
Clinton for governor in 1789, 
i. 43; his eloquence, i. 43. 

Livingston, Maturin, son-in-law 
of Morgan Lewis, i. 147; ap- 
pointed to office, i. 147; char- 
acter of, i. 147-8; removed 
from office, i. 151; restored, i. 
154; defeated for Supreme 
Court, i. 156; removed from 
office, i. 165. 

Xivingston, Peter E., hostility to 
DeWitt Clinton, i. 251; makes 
war on, i. 255; career and 
gifts of, i. 402; joins Whig 
party in 1834, 1. 402; chairman 
of its first convention, i. 402. 

Livingston, Philip, in first con- 
stitutional convention, i. 5. 

Xivingston, Eobert R., member 
first constitutional convention, 
i. 5; appointed chancellor, i. 
16; member of Poughkeepsie 
convention, i. 33; in campaign 
of 1789, i. 42; hostile to Ham- 
ilton, i. 47; strengthens Clin- 
ton, i. 47; left out in division of 
offices, i. 48; ceased to be a Fed- 
eralist, i. 48; defeats Schuy- 
ler for United States Sen- 
ate, i. 49; opposes Jay in 1792, 
i. 55; steam navigation, i. 75-7; 
associated with Fulton, i. 77; 
nominated for governor, 1. 78; 
hostility to Jay, i. 79; appear- 
ance and character of, i. 79; 
desires to be President, i. 80; 
mistakes signs of the times, i. 
81; defeated, i. 82; reasons for 
it, i. 83; his disposition, i. 83; 
minister to France, i. 115; as- 

sailed by Van Ness, i. 125; 
without ambition for further 
political honours, i. 150. 

Locofocos, origin of title, ii. 16; 
applied to Democratic party, 
ii. 16. 

Loomis, Arphaxed, in constitu- 
tional convention of 1846, ii. 
109; character and gifts of, ii. 

Ludlow, William H., chairman 
of Softs' convention in 1854, ii. 
197; defeated, ii. 203. 

Lundy, Benjamin, original aboli- 
tionist, ii. 5; career of, ii. 5-7. 

McComb, Alexander, charged 
with corrupt conduct, i. 54; 
friend of George Clinton, i. 54. 

McDougal, Alexander, in first 
constitutional convention, i. 5. 

Mclntyre, Archibald, becomes 
comptroller, i. 151; contro- 
versy with Tompkins, i. 276; 
removal of, i. 287-9; elected 
state senator, i. 289; agent for 
state lotteries, i. 289. 

McKean, James B., congressman, 
ii. 338; disapproves Weed's 
compromise, ii. 338. 

McKenzie, William L., connected 
with Canadian Eebellion, ii. 

McKnown, James, recorder at 
Albany, i. 347; forced upon 
Eegeney, i. 347; aids Van 
Buren's conciliatory policy, i. 

Madison, James, renominated 
for president, i. 197, 201; char- 
acter of, i. 199, 200; offers 
Tompkins place of secretary 
of state, i. 237; dislike of 
Armstrong, i. 238; dislike of 
Monroe, i. 239. 

Maine Liquor law, introduced 
by Clark, ii. 199; vetoed by 
Seymour, ii. 199. 

Manhattan Bank, clever trick of 
Burr to charter, i. 187. 

Marcy, William L., favours 
King's re-election to United 
States Senate, i. 269; adjutant- 
general, i. 289; career, char- 
acter, and appearance of, i. 
289-94; capture of St. Eegis, i. 



293; orig-inal member of Al- 
bany Regency, i. 293-4; death 
of, i. 294; highest mountain 
in State nained for, i. 294, 
note; becomes comptroller in 
1823, i. 321; appointed to Su- 
preme Court, i. 360; investi- 
gates death of Morgan, i. 360; 
in United States Senate, i. 385; 
record as comptroller and 
judge, i. 386; failure as sena- 
tor, i. 386-8; to victors belong 
the spoils, i. 389; injures Van 
Buren, i. 389, note; nominated 
for governor in 1832, i. 394; 
"the Marcy patch," i. 395; 
elected, 1. 396; "Marcy's 
mortgage," i. 400; renominated 
for governor in 1834, i. 403; 
hot campaign, i. 403-4; elected, 
i. 404; member of a powerful 
group, li. 1; -writes for Argus, 
ii. 2; attitude toward slavery, 
ii. 10; renominated in 1836, ii. 
11; elected, ii. 14; signs bank 
charters, ii. 16; renominated 
for governor in 1838, ii. 22; re- 
view of his administration, ii. 
23-5; defeated, ii. 28; appointed 
to Alexican Claims Commis- 
sion, ii. 30; canal policy, ii. 
49; secretary of war, ii. 94; 
a Hunker, ii. 127; becomes a 
Barnburner, ii. 169; candidate 
for President in 1852, ii. 169- 
72; Seymour favours, ii. 169- 
72; secretary of state, ii. 181-2. 
Martling Men, forerunners of 
Tammany Hall, i. 152, 170; 
charge Clinton with duplicity, 
i. 152. 
Maxwell, Hugh, collector port of 
New York City, ii. 153; op- 
poses Seward's indorsement, 
ii. 153-4. 
May, Samuel J., rescues a fugi- 
tive slave, ii. 165. 
Meigs, Henry, member of Con- 
gress, i. 285; correspondence 
with Van Buren, i. 285. 
Miller, Elijah, father-in-law of 
Seward, i. 318; early friend of 
Weed, i. 318. 
Miller, Jedediah, opposes Tomp- 
kins' accounts, i. 276. 
Minthorne, Mangle, daughter 

married Tompkins, i. 161; 
leader of Martling Men, i. 161; 
bitter opponent of Clinton, 1. 
161, 181. 

Missouri Compromise of 1820, i. 
272, ii. 190; repeal of, ii. 190-5; 
Seward on, ii. 191; excitement 
over, ii. 192-5; opposition to, 
ii. 193-5; John Van Buren on, 
ii. 195; Marcy on, ii. 195. 

Mitchill, Samuel Latham, char- 
acter of, i. 74; friend of 
Priestly, 1. 74; attainments of, 
i. 75; member of Assenibly, i. 
75; steam navigation, i. 75; 
associated with E. E. Living- 
ston, i. 77; friend of DeWitt 
Clinton, i. 108; in United 
States Senate, i. 170. 

Mohawk Eiver, early schemes 
for its navigation, i. 242. 

Mohawk Eiver Valley, attracts 
New Englanders, i. 81. 

Monroe, James, disliked by 
Madison, i. 239; helped by Van 
Buren, i. 240. 

Mooers, Benjamin, deserts De- 
Witt Clinton, i. 279. 

Moore, Sir Henry, projects 
canal around Little Falls, i. 

Morgan, Christopher, secretary 
of state, ii. 127. 

Morgan, Edwin D., at birth of 
Eepublican party, ii. 213; 
nominated for governor in 
1858, ii. 248; character and 
career of, ii. 248; elected, ii. 
255; at Chicago convention in 
1860, ii. 283; renominated for 
governor in 1860, ii. 328; 
elected, ii. 333; conservative 
appeal to Legislature, ii. 348. 

Morgan, William, career of, i. 
359; disclosure of Free Ma- 
sonry, i. 359; abduction of, i. 
359; left at Fort Niagara, 
i. 359; drowned in Lake On- 
tario, i. 360; excitement over 
crime, i. 359-60; investigation 
of, i. 360; punishment of con- 
spirators, i. 360; see Anti- 

Morris, Gouverneur, elected to 
United States Senate, i. 71; 
family of, i. 71-2; association 



■with Hamilton and Jay, i. 73; 
conservatism of, i. 74; life in 
Paris, i. 74, note; opposes 
Burr, i. 100; supports DeWitt 
Clinton for President, i. 202-6; 
favours disunion, i. 228; pre- 
dicts construction of Erie 
canal, i. 241; canal commis- 
sioner, i. 243. 

Morris, Lewis, member first con- 
stitutional convention, i. 5; 
served in Continental Con- 
gress, i. 72; family of, i. 71-4. 

Morris, Eichard, in first consti- 
tutional convention, i. 5; nomi- 
nation as governor desired, i. 
39; character of, i. 40; on Ham- 
ilton's speech at Poug-hkeepsie, 
i. 40; treatment of Gouverneur, 
his half brother, i. 72. 

Morris, Robert, member of 
Poughkeepsie convention, i, 33. 

Morris, Staats Long, served in 
Parliament, i. 73; family of, i. 

Mosely, Daniel, appointed to Su- 
preme Court, i. 366. 

Mulligan, John W., appointed 
surrogate of New York, i. 179. 

National Advocate, edited by 
Noah, i. 262; opposition to 
Erie canal, 1. 262; silenced, 1. 

National Republicans, followers 
of Adams in 1828, i. 361; adopt 
ticket of Anti-Masons in 1832, 
i. 393; reason for defeat, i. 396; 
party, in 1834, becomes Whig, 
i. 399. 

Native American party, organ- 
ised in 1844, ii. 82; opposed 
foreigners voting or holding 
office, ii. 82; confined to New 
York City, ii. 82; elected a 
mayor in 1844, ii. 82; in consti- 
tutional convention of 1846, ii. 
97-100; revived in 1854 as 
Know-Nothings, ii. 201; secret 
methods of, ii. 201; Seward 
opposed to, ii. 201-2; unknown 
strength of, ii. 202-3; Silver- 
Grays partial to, ii. 202; nomi- 
. nations in 1854, ii. 202; de- 
feated, ii. 204; its convention 
in 1855, ii. 214; elected its 

ticket, ii. 216; defeated in 1858, 
ii. 255; indorse Republicans 
and Democrats in 1859, ii. 258- 
9; Wilson on, ii. 259. 

Negro suffrage, i. 299-300. 

Nelson, Samuel, member of con- 
stitutional convention in 1821, 
i. 298; career of, 1. 298; in- 
vestigates death of Morgan, i. 
360; made justice of United 
States Supreme Court, ii. 97, 
103; in constitutional conven- 
tion of 1846, ii. 103. 

Nepotism, practised by DeWitt 
Clinton, i. 117,347; by Governor 
Lewis, i. 147; by Governor 
Yates, 1. 321; by Governor 
Bouck, ii. 57. 

New York City, work of radi- 
cals in, i. 1; census of, in 1820, 
i. 295. 

New York, Colony of, tainted 
with Toryism, i. 23. 

New York Evening Post, estab- 
lished by Hamilton and Jay, 
i. 117; edited by William Cole- 
man, i. 117. 

Nicholas, John, member of Coun- 
cil of Appointment in 1807, i. 

Noah, Mordecai Manesseh, editor 
National Advocate, i. 261; char- 
acter and career of 1. 262, 351; 
opposed to Erie canal, i. 263; 
opposition silenced by Van 
Buren, i. 262; supports Clinton 
for governor in 1826, i. 351. 

North, William, elected to United 
States Senate, i. 70; service 
and character of, i. 71; on 
staff of Baron Steuben, i. 71 
and note; speaker of Assem- 
bly, i. 171. 

Noyes, William Curtis, at peace 
congress, ii. 350. 

Oakley, Thomas J., surrogate of 
Dutchess County, i. 171; re- 
moved, i. 179; friend of Clin- 
ton, i. 254; displaces Van 
Buren as attorney-general, i. 
273; opposes Tompkins' ac- 
counts, i. 276; removed as 
attorney-general, i. 287. 

Oaksmith, Appleton, delegate to 
seceding States, ii. 351-2. 



O'Conor, Charles, in constitu- 
tional convention of 1846, ii. 
104; opposes negro suffrage, ii. 
107; on elective judiciary, ii. 
109; opposed constitution of 
1846, ii. 112; conservatism of, 
ii. 113; nominated for lieu- 
tenant-governor in 1848, ii. 134; 
career of, ii. 134-5; in cam- 
paign of 1852, ii. 178; declines 
to support the Softs, ii. 186. 

Office-seekers, number and per- 
sistence of, ii. 388-9. 

Olcott, Thomas W., financier of 
Albany Regency, ii. 20. 

Ostrander, Catherine, wife of 
Weed, i. 318; true love match, 
i. 319; waited for him three 
years, 1. 319. 

Parker, Amasa J., nominated for 
governor in 1856, ii. 232-3; 
career and ability of, ii. 233-4; 
defeated, ii. 241; nominated 
for governor in 1858, ii. 249; 
defeated, ii. 255; at Democratic 
state peace convention, ii. 354; 
president of, ii. 354. 

Parrish, Daniel, state senator, i. 

Patterson, George W., to Weed 
about Fillmore, ii. 79; in con- 
stitutional convention of 1846, 
ii. 103; on elective judiciary, 
ii. 109; nominated for lieuten- 
ant-governor in 1848, ii. 140; 
character of, ii. 140; defeated 
for state comptroller, ii. 165; 
Greeley on, ii. 165-6; ambitious 
to be governor in 1852, ii. 173. 

Peace congress in 1861, ii. 350; 
suggested by Virginia, ii. 350; 
adopted by Legislature of New 
York, ii. 350; delegates to, ii. 
350; convened at Washington, 
ii. 358; its work and results, 
ii. 358-60. 

Peaceable secession, Greeley ad- 
vocates, ii. 335-6; also Aboli- 
tionists, ii. 336; preferable to 
civil war, ii. 347, 355. 
Peck, Jedediah, opposed Alien- 
Sedition laws, i. 89; arrested, 
i. 89; creates great excitement, 
i. 89. 
Peckham, Kufus W., opposes re- 

peal of Missouri Compromise, 
ii. 195. 

People's party, supports Adams 
in 1824, i. 324; stood for popu- 
lar election of presidential 
electors, i. 324; resented de- 
feat of the measure, i. 326; 
Tallmadge and Wheaton lead 
it, i. 324; secedes from Utica 
convention, i. 331-2; supports 
Clinton in 1826, i. 350; joins 
National Eepubliean party in 
1828, i. 361. 

Perry, Oliver H., victory on Lake 
Erie, i. 225. 

Phelps, Oliver, nominated for 
lieutenant-governor with Burr 
in 1804, i. 131; character of, 
i. 138. 

Pierce, Franklin, nominated for 
President in 1852, ii. 169-72; 
elected, ii. 179; humiliated 
Dix, ii. 182, note; appoints 
Marcy secretary of state, ii. 

Pitcher, Nathaniel, elected lieu- 
tenant-governor, i. 352; career 
of, i. 366; character of, i. 366; 
acting governor, i. 366; ap- 
pointments of, i. 366; defeated 
for renomlnation by Van 
Buren, i. 366; ceases to act 
with Jackson party, i. 367. 

Pitt, William, compared with 
Hamilton, i. 3. 

Piatt, Jonas, defeated for Su- 
preme Court, i. 156; character 
of, i. 156, 173-4; nominated for 
governor, i. 173; assails em- 
bargo, i. 174; betrayed by 
prejudices, i. 176; defeated for 
governor, i. 179; supports 
Clinton for mayor, i. 213 ; and 
for governor, in 1817, i. 248; 
retires from Supreme Court, i. 
323; later career and death of, 
i. 323. 

Piatt, Zephaniah, father of pre- 
ceding, i. 156; character and 
career of, i. 156; founded 
Plattsburgh, i. 156; served in 
Legislature and in Congress, i. 
Plumb, Joseph, nominated for 
lieutenant-governor by Aboli- 
tionists in 1850, ii. 156. 



Political campaigns, begin in 
1789, i. 44; abusive in 1792, i. 
52; young men in, i. 56 and 
note; modern methods intro- 
duced, i. 90. 

Porter, John K., in constitu- 
tional convention of 1846, ii. 

Porter, Peter B., supports Burr 
in 1804, i. 138; removed as 
county clerk, i. 147; character 
and career of, i. 148; member 
of Congress, i. 148; secretary 
of vpar, i. 148; appointed 
secretary of state, i. 233 ; 
canal commissioner, i. 243; 
opposed Clinton for governor 
in 1817, i. 249; brilliant 
war record, i. 249; eloquence 
of, i. 250; nominated for gov- 
ernor by Tammany, i. 251; de- 
feated, i. 252; aspirant for 
governor in 1822, i. 318; sup- 
ports Clay in 1824, i. 324; nom- 
inated for the Assembly in 
1827, i. 358. 

Post, Henry, confidential cor- 
respondent of DeWitt Clinton, 
i. 243. 

Poughkeepsie convention, rati- 
fies Federal Constitution, i. 
33; number of delegates, i. 
33; champions of Constitution, 
i. 33; opponents of, i. 33; date 
of ratification, i. 35; vote on, 
i. 36. 

Privateers in vear of 1812, Samuel 
Young's description of, i. 

Prohibition, issue in 1854, ii. 203; 
law passed, ii. 210; declared 
unconstitutional, ii. 210. 

Purdy, Ebenezer, state senator, 
i. 149; charged with bribery, 
i. 149, 190; character of, i. 190; 
resigns to escape expulsion, i. 

Putnam, James 0., a Silver- 
Gray, ii. 156; eloquence of, ii. 
156; votes for Babcock for 
United States senator in 1855, 
ii. 207; favours union of Ameri- 
can and Republican parties, ii. 
249; elector-at-large, ii. 328; 
Americans follow him into Re- 
publican party, ii. 332. 

"Quids," nickname for Governor 
Lewis' followers, 1806, i. 152. 

Badcliff, Jacob, appointed on Su- 
preme Court, i. 68; life of, i. 
69; character and appearance 
of, i. 69; becomes nnayor of 
New York City, i. 172; re- 
moved, i. 179. 

Radical and Conservative Demo- 
crats, difference in canal 
policy, ii. 53. 

Radicals, faction of Democratic 
party, ii. 52, 126; opposed 
state debt to construct canal, 
ii. 52, 126; leaders of, ii. 53, 
126; called Barnburners after 
supporting Wilmot Proviso, ii. 
126; see Barnburners. 

Randall, Henry S., biographer of 
Jefferson, ii. 324; Barnburner, 
ii. 324; chairman of Hards' 
state convention in 1860, ii. 

Randolph, John, teller when J. 
Q. Adams was elected Presi- 
dent, i. 343. 

Raymond, Henry Jarvis, in As- 
sembly, ii. 159; speaker, ii. 
159; career and gifts of, ii. 
159-61; editor of New York 
Courier, ii. 160; established 
New York Times, ii. 160; quar- 
rels with Webb, ii. 161; sup- 
ports Fish for United States 
Senate, ii. 162; ambition to be 
governor in 1852, ii. 173; at 
Anti-Nebraska convention, ii. 
194; nominated for lieutenant- 
governor in 1854, ii. 199; deep 
offence to Greeley, ii. 199-200; 
elected, ii. 204; at birth of Re- 
publican party, ii. 213; active 
in 1856, ii. 240; favours Doug- 
las for United States senator, 
ii. 247; at Chicago convention, 
ii. 283; calls Greeley a disap- 
pointed office-seeker, ii. 306-7; 
Greeley's letter to Seward in 
1854, ii. 307; indorses Weed's 
compromise, ii. 337. 

Redfield, Herman J., kept out of 
office, i. 348. 

Renwick, James, characteristics 
of Tompkins, i. 215. 

Republican party, Anti-Ne- 



braska convention, ii. 194; 
Greeley favoured its organisa- 
tion in 1854, ii. 200; Weed and 
Seward opposed, ii. 200; Gree- 
ley named it, ii. 211; Executive 
Committee appointed in 1854, 
ii. 211; formal organisation in 
1855, ii. 211-4; its platform, ii. 
213; Seward's speech for, ii. 
217-8; Silver-Grays defeat it, ii. 
219; Weed and Seward criti- 
cised, ii. 219-20; carried State 
for Fremont and King, ii. 241- 
2; elect governor in 1858, ii. 
255; made up of young men, 
ii. 328-9; elect Lincoln and 
Morgan, ii. 333; desired peace, 
ii. 360. 

Eeynolds, Marcus T., wit of, ii. 

Richmond, Dean, original Barn- 
burner, ii. 131; leadership at 
Charleston convention in 1860, 
ii. 270-9; character and career 
of, ii. 271-2; believed to be for 
Seymour, ii. 276, 298, note, 299; 
sustains two-thirds rule, ii. 
277; defeats Douglas' nomina- 
tion under rule, ii. 277-8; sus- 
tains admission of contestants, 
ii. 300; Dickinson's attack on, 
ii. 302-3; intentions of, ii. 303; 
calls Democratic state peace 
convention, ii. 354. 

Riker, Richard, district attorney, 
i. 117; assailed by Van Ness, i. 
124; acts as second for DeWitt 
Clinton, i. 127; Clinton fails to 
support him for Supreme 
Court, i. 218; affection for 
Clinton turned into hate, i. 
218; Clinton removed him as 
recorder, i. 273. 

Rochester, William B., character 
and career of, i. 350; nomi- 
nated for governor in 1826, i. 
350; proved strong candidate, 
i. 351; defeated, i. 352; be- 
lieved Van Buren's support in- 
sincere, i. 352; proposed for 
United States senator, i. 352; 
lost at sea, i. 352, note. 

Root, Erastus, gifts and char- 
acter of, i. 85; career of, i. 86; 
friend of Burr, i. 86; opposes 
Alien-Sedition laws, i. 86; 

strikes at nullification i. 87; his 
opinion of Burr and Hamilton, 
i. 91; supports Burr in 1804, i. 
138; defence of methods used by 
State Bank, i. 188-9; changes 
views in case of Merchants' 
Bank, i. 191; opposes Bank of 
America, i. 196; makes war on 
Clinton, i. 255; unfriendly to 
Erie canal, i. 261; opposition 
silenced, i. 262; favours settle- 
ment of Tompkins' accounts, 
i. 276; conspicuous work in 
constitutional convention of 
1821, i. 299-310; aspirant for 
governor in 1822, i. 313; sent 
to Assembly in 1827, i. 357; 
sought nomination for gov- 
ernor in 1830, i. 376; leaves 
Jackson party in 1832, i. 394; 
death of, ii. 104. 

Roseboom, Robert, member of 
Council of Appointment, i. 
107; controlled by DeWitt 
Clinton, i. 107. 

Rouse, Caspar M., accused David 
Thomas of bribery, i. 193. 

Ruggles, Charles H., in consti- 
tutional convention of 1846, ii. 
109; chairman judiciary com- 
mittee, ii. 109; nominated for 
Court of Appeals, ii. 184; char- 
acter of, ii. 184; elected, ii. 189. 

Ruggles, Samuel B., Seward's re- 
liance upon, ii. 34. 

Sage, Russell, in Congress, ii. 
195; opposes repeal of Missouri 
Compromise, ii. 195. 

Sanders, John, member of Coun- 
cil of Appointment, i. 107. 

Sanford, Nathan, career and 
character of, i. 170; defends 
embargo, i. 170-1; opposes De- 
Witt Clinton for President, i. 
203; elected United States 
senator, i. 233; succeeded by 
Van Buren, i. 286; succeeded 
by Jones for chancellor, i. 347; 
elected United States senator, 
i. 347. 

Savage, Edward, member of 
Council of Appointment in 
1807, i. 156. 

Savage, John, appointed Su- 
preme Court judge, i. 322. 



Schell, Augustus, at Charleston 
convention, ii. 272. 

Schuyler, Philip, member first 
constitutional convention, i. 5; 
suggested for governor, i. 17; 
public career of, i. 17; Kent 
oil, i. 17; Webster on, i. 18; 
characteristics of, i. 18; called 
"Great Eye," i. 18, note; sur- 
prised by Clinton's election as 
governor, i. 21; elected United 
States senator, i. 44; defeated 
for re-election, i. 49; combina- 
tion against him, i. 49; mem- 
ber of Council of Appoint- 
ment, i. 61; nominates Ben- 
son, i. 61; claims concurrent 
right with governor, i. 61; 
justification of, i. 62; re- 
elected to United States Sen- 
ate, i. 70; resigns, i. 70; ex- 
ample in Council followed by 
DeWitt Clinton, i. 110. 

Scott, John Morin, member first 
constitutional convention, i. 
5; leads radicals in, i. 13; 
chairman Council of Safety, i. 
16; suggested for governor, i. 
17; Adams on, i. 18; Jones on, 
i. 18; ancestry of, i. 19; career 
of, i. 19. 

Scott, Winfield, valour at Queens- 
town Heights, i. 223; opinion 
of Wilkinson, i. 223; promoted, 
i. 225; bravery at Lundy's 
Lane, i. 226; brilliant leader- 
ship, i. 227; candidate for 
President in 1852, ii. 166-7; 
tour through New York, ii. 
176; regarded as Seward's can- 
didate, ii. 175; confident of elec- 
tion, ii. 179; defeated, ii. 179. 

Seceders, Barnburners from 
Hunkers, ii. 127; Silver-Grays 
from Seward Whig^, ii. 155; 
Democratic senators from 
state Senate, ii. 163; Hunkers 
from Barnburners, ii. 180; 
anti-slavery members from 
Softs, ii. 197; Wood delegation 
from Democratic state conven- 
tion, ii. 249. 

Secretary of state, stepping 
stone to Presidency, i. 364. 

Selden, Henry B., nominated for 
lieutenant-governor, ii. 237; 

family of, ii. 237; character 
and career of, ii. 236-7. 

Selden, Samuel L., nominated 
for Court of Appeals, ii. 211; 
elected, ii. 219; brother of 
Henry E., ii. 237; character 
and career of, ii. 237-8. 

Senate, State, number of mem- 
bers in first, i. 9; election of, 
i. 9; how apportioned, i. 9; 
powers of, i. 9; model of, i. 9; 
who could vote for, i. 9. 

Senate, United States, its enor- 
mous power, i. 118; member- 
ship in it preferred to the 
governorship, i. 364; years of 
its greatness, i. 386. 

Senators, United States, service 
of Eufus King, 1789-96, i. 44; 
Philip Schuyler, 1789-91, i. 44; 
Aaron Burr, 1791-7, i. 49; John 
Lawrence, 1796-1801, i. 70; 
Philip Schuyler, 1797-8, i. 70; 
John Sloss Hobart, 1798, i. 70; 
William North, 1798, i. 70; 
James Watson, 1798-1800, i. 70; 
Gouverneur Morris, 1800-3, i. 
71; John Armstrong, 1801-2, i. 
118; DeWitt Clinton, 1802-3, i. 
118; John Armstrong, 1803-4, 
i. 118; Theodorus Bailey, 1804, 
i. 156; Samuel L. Mitchill, 
1804-9, i. 170; John Smith, 
1804-15, i. 170; Obadiah Ger- 
man, 1809-15, 1. 170; Eufus 
King, 1815-27, i. 211, 269; 
Nathan Sanford, 1815-21, i. 
233; Martin Van Buren, 1821-8, 
i. 286; Charles E. Dudley, 1829- 
33, i. 383; Nathan Sanford, 
1827-31, i. 347; William L. 
Marey, 1831-2, i. 385; Silas 
Wright, 1833-44, ii. 1, 65; 
Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, 1833- 
44, ii. 1, 39; Daniel S. Dickin- 
son, 1845-51, ii. 93; Henry A. 
Foster, 1844-5, ii. 93; John A. 
Dix, 1845-9, ii. 93; William H. 
Seward, 1849-61, ii. 145, 205; 
Hamilton Fish, 1851-7, ii. 162; 
Preston King, 1857-63, ii. 243; 
Ira Harris, 1861-7, ii. 365. 

Seward, William H., elected state 
•senator, i. 377; appearance 
of, i. 377; career and char- 
acter of, i. 378; his boy- 



hood, i. 378; gifts, i. 378; 
an active Clintonian, i. 379; 
first meeting with Weed, i. 
379; Weed on, i. 380; joined 
Anti-Masons, i. 380; visits John 
Quincy Adams, i. 380; Whigs 
nominate for governor in 1834, 
i. 402; fitness and red hair, i. 
402-3; bright prospects of elec- 
tion, i. 402-3; defeated, i. 404; 
indifference of, i. 405; nomi- 
nated for governor in 1838, ii. 
19-21; elected, ii. 29; accepts 
Weed's dictatorship, ii. 31-3, 
36-8; first message of, ii. 34-5; 
tribute to DeWitt Clinton, ii. 
35; prophetic of Erie canal, ii. 
36; renominated in 1840, ii. 42; 
elected, ii. 45; weakness of, ii. 
45; reasons for, ii. 48-50; de- 
clines renomination, ii. 50-1; 
unhappy in 1844, ii. 84-5; pre- 
dicts disunion, ii. 86; Clay's 
Alabama letter, ii. 87-8; on 
Wilmot Proviso, ii. 102; ab- 
sence of, from constitutional 
convention of 1846, ii. 104-5; 
picture of candidates in 1846, 
ii. 121; on the stump in 1848, 
ii. 141-3; first meeting with 
Lincoln, ii. 143; elected United 
States senator, ii. 145-7; grati- 
tude to Weed, ii. 148; opposes 
compromises of 1850, ii. 152; 
higher law speech, ii. 152; 
Whigs approve his course, ii. 
153-5; opposes repeal of Mis- 
ouri Compromise, ii. 190-3; 
Blair on, ii. 192-3; opposed a, 
Republican party in 1854, ii. 
200; re-elected to United States 
Senate, ii. 205-7; Raymond on, 
ii. 205; Evening Post on, ii. 205; 
opposed by Know-Nothings, ii. 
205-6; gratitude to Weed, ii. 
208; speech for Republican 
party, ii. 217-8; criticised, ii. 
219-20; speech on Kansas, ii. 
225-6; declined nomination for 
President, ii. 229-32; hinted 
Weed betrayed him, ii. 230; 
grouty, ii. 239; suspicions of 
trimming, ii. 252; irrepressible 
conflict speech, ii. 252-3; criti- 
cism of, ii. 254; goes to Eu- 
rope, ii. 260-1; bill to admit 

Kansas, ii. 261; speech on, ii. 
265-7; criticised as bid for 
Presidency, ii. 267-8; Phillips, 
Garrison, and Greeley on, ii. 
268; confident of nomination 
for President in 1860, ii. 283-4; 
on Greeley's fidelity, ii. 284, 
note; character of opposition, 
ii. 285; defeated on third bal- 
lot, ii. 289; sorrow of friends, 
ii. 290, note; personal bearing 
of, ii. 291-3; letter to wife, ii. 
292; to Weed, ii. 291-3; Gree- 
ley's letter of 1854, ii. 311-17; 
its effect upon him, ii. 317; ad- 
mits Greeley should have had 
an ofBce, ii. 323; vindictiveness 
of, ii. 323, 386; in New Eng- 
land, ii. 328; in the West, ii. 
329; climax of career, ii. 329; 
predicted Alaska purchase, ii. 
330; on threats of disunion, ii. 
334; as to Weed's compromise, 
ii. 368, 380; waiting to hear 
from Lincoln, ii. 368-9; on 
Buchanan's message, ii. 369-70; 
offered secretaryship of state, 
ii. 370; generally anticipated, 
ii. 370; Weed saw Lincoln for, 
ii. 371; Astor House speech, ii. 
371-3; opposes Crittenden Com- 
promise, ii. 373-4; answers 
Jefferson Davis, ii. 376-7; non- 
committalism, ii. 377-9; pur- 
pose of, ii. 377-8; Whittier's 
poem on, ii. 378; speech criti- 
cised, ii. 379; secession in 
White House, ii. 379; contro- 
versy with Mason of Virginia, 
ii. 381-2; brilliant and resource- 
ful, ii. 383; modifies Lincoln's 
inaugural address, ii. 384-5; a 
blow at Curtin, ii. 386; opposes 
Chase, ii. 386; declines to enter 
Cabinet, ii. 386; tenacious as 
to patronage, ii. 390; confer- 
ence with Harris and Presi- 
dent, ii. 390, 396, 397; Barney's 
appointment, ii. 390-7; Presi- 
dent or Premier, ii. 397; 
secures all important offices, 
ii. 398; Dickinson's appoint- 
ment, ii. 399-401. 
Seymour, David L., character 
and career of, ii. 232-3; at 
Charleston convention, ii. 272. 



Seymour, Henry, elected canal 
commissioner, i. 261; deprives 
Clinton of patronage, i. 261. 
Seymour, Horatio, leading Con- 
servative, ii. 53; member of As- 
sembly, ii. 60; report on canal, 
ii. 61; legislative skill and in- 
fluence, ii. 61; appearance, 
ii. 61; Hoffman and, ii. 63; 
elected speaker of Assembly, 
ii. 91-2; poise and gifts, ii. 91; 
beginning of leadership, ii. 91; 
controls in election of United 
States senators, ii. 93; flght 
over fourth constitutional con- 
vention, ii. 99; harmonises 
Hunkers and Barnburners, ii. 
149; John Van Buren, ii. 150; 
nominated for governor in 
1850, ii. 156; defeated, ii. 158; 
supports Marcy for President 
in 1852, ii. 169-72; nominated 
for governor in 1852, ii. 172-3; 
Conkling on, ii. 172; elected, 
ii. 178; secures canal constitu- 
tional amendment, ii. 183-4; 
approved by Barnburners, ii. 
184; renominated for governor 
in 1854, ii. 197; vetoes Maine 
liquor law, ii. 199; defeated, 
ii. 203; pleads for Softs at na- 
tional convention, ii. 226-8; 
leader of united party, ii. 232; 
■condemns Eepublican party, 
ii. 239, note; declines nomi- 
nation for governor in 1858, ii. 
249; Eichmond's choice for 
President at Charleston, ii. 
276, 298, note, 299; name with- 
drawn at Baltimore, ii. 301; at 
Softs' state convention, ii. 325; 
at Democratic state peace con- 
vention, ii. 354; sentiments of, 
ii. 355-6, and note. 
Sharpe, Peter B., speaker of As- 
sembly, i. 262; unfriendly to 
canal, i. 261-2; opposition si- 
lenced, i. 262; approves Tomp- 
kins' war accounts, i. 276; op- 
poses Jackson, i. 357; nomi- 
nated for Assembly in 1827, i. 
Sheldon, Alexander, speaker of 
Assembly, i. 194; charges 
Southwick with bribery, i. 

Sickles, Daniel E., member of 
the Hards, ii. 209; represented 
Tammany, ii. 249. 
Silver-Grays, faction of Whig 
party, ii. 155; origin of name, 
ii. 155; secede from Whig con- 
vention in 1850, ii. 155; hold 
convention at Utica, ii. 155-6; 
indorse Hunt for governor, ii. 
156; become Know-Nothings, 
ii. 202, 204; also Hards, ii. 204; 
defeated Eepublicans in 1855, 
ii. 219; finally absorbed by 
other parties, ii. 332. 

Skinner, Eoger, member of 
Council, i. 288; United States 
judge, i. 294; member of Al- 
bany Eegency, i. 294. 

Slavery, Jay fails to recommend 
abolition of, i. 68, 111; abol- 
ished by Legislature of New 
York, i. Ill; agitation against, 
ii. 5-10; Beardsley heads a 
mob, ii. 6; state anti-slavery 
society formed, ii. 8; Van 
Buren's attitude toward, ii. 10- 
12; Wilmot Proviso, ii. 102; 
Free-soil movement, ii. 126- 
44; prohibition of, in Territo- 
ries, ii. 282; platform of Ee- 
publican party, ii. 282. 

Smith, Alexander, brigadier-gen- 
eral, relieves Stephen Van 
Eensselaer on Niagara fron- 
tier, i. 222; character and fail- 
ure of, i. 222. 

Smith, Gerrit, career and gifts 
of, ii. 7-8; Weed on, ii. 7-8; 
wealth of, ii. 7; becomes an 
Abolitionist, ii. 8; generosity 
of, ii. 8; organises state anti- 
slavery society, ii. 8; influence 
in 1838, ii. 25; in 1844, ii. 
83; rescues a fugitive, ii. 
165; elected to Congress, ii. 

Smith, James C, at peace con- 
gress, ii. 350. 

Smith, Melanethon, member of 
Poughkeepsie convention, i. 
33; ablest opponent of Federal 
Constitution, i. 34; Fiske on, i. 
34; wisdom of suggestions, i. 
34; change of mind, i. 35; sup- 
ports Clinton for governor in 
1789, 1. 43. 



Smith, Peter, father of Gerrit, 
ii. 7; large landowner, ii. 

Smith, William S., appointed 
United States marshal, i. 44. 

Softs, name of Democratic fac- 
tion, ii. 185; successors to 
Barnburners, ii. 185; why so 
called, ii. 185; ticket defeated 
in 1853, ii. 189; strained posi- 
tion as to repeal of Missouri 
Compromise, ii. 196; with- 
drawal of anti-slavery leaders, 
ii. 197; Seymour renominated 
for governor by, ii. 197-8; de- 
feated, ii. 203; disapproved ex- 
tension of slavery, ii. 210; be- 
came pro-slavery, ii. 226; 
humiliated at national con- 
vention, ii. 226-8; Seymour 
pleads for, ii. 226-8; unite with 
Hards, ii. 232; support Bu- 
chanan and Parker, ii. 232; 
Wood captures their state con- 
vention, ii. 257; Dickinson 
yields to, ii. 258; control at 
Charleston and Baltimore, ii. 
270-9, 294-303; hold separate 
state convention in 1860, ii. 
325-6; nominated Kelley for 
governor, ii. 326; fuse with 
Constitutional Union party, ii. 

Southern fire-eaters, threats of 
disunion, ii. 261; reward for 
heads of Eepublican leaders, 
ii. 264-5. 

Southwick, Solomon, character 
and gifts of, i. 154; career, i. 
154, 192-3; connection with 
Bank of America, i. 191, 193-4; 
indicted and acquitted, i. 194; 
becomes postmaster, i. 239; op- 
poses Tompkins for President, 
i. 239; runs for governor in 
1822, i. 316; strange career of, 
i. 316-7; without support, i. 
319; without votes, i. 320; 
nominated for governor in 
1828, i. 364; defeated, i. 368. 
Spaulding, Elbridge G., career 
of, ii. 188; nominated treas- 
urer of State, ii. 188; "father 
of the greenback," ii. 188; 
elected state treasurer, ii. 189; 
at birth of Eepublican party, 

ii. 214; presents petition for 
peace, ii. 350. 
Spencer, Ambrose, appearance 
of, i. 55-6; assistant attorney- 
general, i. 70; changes his 
polities, i. 87; reasons for, i. 
88; relative of Chancellor Liv- 
ingston, i. 88; member of 
Council of Appointment, i. 107; 
attorney-general, i. 117; on the 
Supreme Court, i. 117; appoint- 
ment alarms Federalists, i.ll7; 
reasons for, i. 117-8; character 
of, i. 118; attack on Foote, i. 
120; assailed by Van Ness, i. 
125; opposes the Merchants' 
Bank, i. 148; votes for Clinton 
for President, i. 167; opposes 
charter of Merchants' Bank, 
i. 189; and Bank of America, i. 
195; breaks with DeWitt Clin- 
ton, i. 197; opposes him for 
President, i. 202-4; denounced 
by Clinton, i. 204; friend of 
Armstrong, i. 216; distrusted 
by Tompkins, i. 216-7; opposes 
Van Buren for attorney-gen- 
eral, i. 232; relations with 
Tompkins strained, i. 233; fa- 
vours Armstrong for United 
States Senate, i. 233; becomes 
a candidate, i. 233; beaten by 
Van Buren, i. 233; breaks with 
Tompkins, i. 237; relations re- 
newed with Clinton, i. 245; 
brother-in law of, i. 245; de- 
clares for him for governor, 
i. 246; forces a broader party 
caucus, i. 250; work in con- 
stitutional convention of 1821, 
i. 299-310; Yates' treatment of, 
i. 322; later career and death 
of, i. 322-3. 
Spencer, John C, son of Ambrose 
Spencer, i. 263; gifts, char- 
acter, and career of, i. 263-5; 
likeness to Calhoun, i. 264; 
home at Canandaigua, i. 264; 
DeWitt Clinton's opinion of, i. 
264; candidate for United 
States Senate, i. 266-7; de- 
feated, i. 267; fails to become 
attorney-general, i. 274; 
speaker of Assembly, i. 276; 
opposes Tompkins' accounts, i. 
276; headed electoral ticket in 



1832, i. 393; Seward's reliance 
upon, ii. 34; secretary of state, 
ii. 36; ambitious to go to 
United States Senate, ii. 38; 
secretary of war, ii. 48; breaks 
with Weed, ii. 48; with Scott 
at Albany, ii. 176. 

Spencer, Joshua A., defeated for 
United States Senate, ii. 38. 

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, daugh- 
ter of Daniel Cady, i. 169; 
gifts of, i. 169. 

State debt, HofEman's estimate 
of, in 1846, ii. 108-9. 

Steam navigation, history of its 
inception, i. 75-6. 

Stephens, Alexander H., predicts 
civil war, ii. 279. 

Stevens, Samuel, ancestry and 
career of, i. 376; nominated for 
lieutenant-governor, i. 376; de- 
feated, i. 377; energy of, i. 
390; renominated for lieuten- 
ant-governor in 1832, i. 393. 

Stewart, Alvan, nominated for 
governor, ii. 82; character and 
career of, ii. 82-3; defeated, 
ii. 89; increasing strength, 
ii. 89. 

Stewart, William, brother-in-law 
of George Clinton, i. 117; made 
assistant attorney-general, i. 

Stillwell, Silas M., nominated for 
lieutenant-governor, i. 402; 
character and career of, 1. 402; 
defeated, i. 404. 

Stranahan, Ferrand, member of 
Council, i. 231. 

Suffrage, restrictions of under 
first constitution, i. 9. 

Sumner, Charles, assaulted by 
Brooks, ii. 225; Seward on, ii. 
225; excitement in North, ii. 

Sutherland, Jacob, appointed Su- 
preme Court judge, i. 322. 
Swartout, John, district attor- 
ney, i. 117, 121; challenges Dp- 
Witt Clinton, i. 127; wounded 
twice, i. 127; leader of Burr- 
ites, i. 152. 

Talcott, Samuel A., attorney- 
general, i. 289; career and ap- 
pearance of, i. 289-94; genius 

of, i. 290; compared to Hamil- 
ton, i. 290; Chief Justice Mar- 
shall on, i. 290; opposed Web- 
ster in Snug Harbour case, i. 
290; close relations with But- 
ler, i. 291; original member of 
Albany Regency, i. 293-4; 
death of, i. 294. 
Tallmadge, Fred. A., elected to 

state senate, ii. 16. 
Tallmadge, James, opposition to 
Missouri Compromise, i. 274; 
applicant for attorney-general, 
i. 274; hostility to DeWitt Clin- 
ton, i. 274; work in constitu- 
tional convention of 1821, i. 
299-310; applicant for comp- 
troller, i. 321; beaten by 
Marcy, i. 321; supported 
Adams in 1824, i. 324; voted 
for Clinton's removal as canal 
commissioner, i. 328-9; great 
mistake, i. 329; nominated for 
lieutenant-governor, i. 331; in 
constitutional convention of 
1846, ii. 103. 
Tallmadge, Nathaniel P., op- 
ponent of Regency, i. 358; sent 
to Assembly, i. 358; in United 
States Senate, ii. 1; attitude 
toward slavery, ii. 11; indorsed 
Seward for governor, ii. 24-5; 
nominated for United States 
Senate, ii. 38; elected, ii. 39; 
becomes governor of Wiscon- 
sin, ii. 92. 
Tammany, early history of So- 
ciety, i. 181-5; hostility to De- 
Witt Clinton, i. 181-5; opposes 
Erie canal, i. 251; opposed 
Clinton for governor in 1817, 
i. 251; defeated, i. 252; Clinton 
dismisses its office-holders, i. 
255; Van Buren silences its op- 
position to canal, i. 261-2; in- 
fluence in securing the con- 
stitutional convention of 1821, 
i. 296; favours Jackson for 
President, i. 357; trains with 
the Softs, ii. 249; defeats 
Wood, ii. 257. 
Tappan, Arthur, early Aboli- 
tionist, ii. 6; requisition for, 
ii. 6. 
Tappan, Lewis, early Abolition- 
ist, ii. 6; home mobbed, ii. 6; 



nominated for state comptrol- 
ler, ii. 216. 
Taylor, John, career and char- 
acter of, i. 177-8; speech 
ag'ainst Piatt, i. 178; opjKJses 
Bank of America, i. 196; ap- 
pearance of, i. 196; nominated 
for lieutenant-governor, i. 213; 
attacked by Clinton, i. 213; 
elected, i. 215; nominated for 
lieutenant-governor with Clin- 
ton, i. 279. 
Taylor, John J., nominated for 
lieutenant-governor, ii. 249-50; 
career of, ii. 250. 
Taylor, John W., congressman 
from Saratoga, i. 312; brilliant 
leader, i. 312; twice speaker of 
national House of Representa- 
tives, i. 312, ii. 204; refuses 
nomination for lieutenant- 
governor, i. 331; defeated for 
speaker in Twentieth Con- 
gress, i. 359; champion op- 
ponent of Missouri Compro- 
mise in 1820, ii. 204; lived to 
see principles adopted, ii. 204; 
longer continuous service than 
any successor, ii. 204; char- 
acter of speeches, ii. 204; death 
of, ii. 204. 
Thomas, David, career and char- 
acter of, i. 191-2; charged with 
bribery, i. 193; indicted and 
acquitted, i. 194. 
Thomas, Thomas, member of 
Council of Appointment in 
1807, i. 156. 
Thompson, Smith, related to 
Livingstons, i. 155; on Su- 
preme bench, i. 155; refused 
mayoralty of New York, i. 155; 
career of, i. 362; learning of, 
i. 362; secretary of navy under 
Monroe, i. 362; on bench 
twenty-five years, i. 362; jus- 
tice of United States Supreme 
Court, i. 362; nominated for 
governor in 1828, i. 362; re- 
fused to withdraw, i. 363; de- 
feated, i. 368. 
Thompson, William, caucus 
nominee for speaker, i. 257; 
character and career of, i. 257; 
defeated by a bolt, i. 258-9. 
Thorn, Stephen, an assembly- 

man, i. 149; charged Purdy 
with bribery, i. 149, 190. 
Throop, Enos T., criticised 
Morgan's abductors, i. 365; 
home on Lake Owasco, i. 365; 
nominated for lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, i. 366-7; bargain with 
Van Buren, i. 366; resigned 
from Supreme Court, i. 366; 
elected lieutenant-governor, i. 
368; becomes acting governor, 
i. 376; nominated for governor 
in 1830^1. 376; unpopular man- 
ners, i. 376; elected, i. 377; de- 
feated for nomination in 1832, 
i. 394; nicknamed "Small- 
light," i. 394; character of, i. 
Tilden, Samuel J., in constitu- 
tional convention of 1846, ii. 
104; opposes negro suffrage, 
ii. 107; writes address of 
Barnburners, ii. 131; nomi- 
nated for attorney-general, ii. 
211; defeated, ii. 218. 
Tillotson, Thomas, brother-in- 
law of Chancellor Livingston, 
i. 113; secretary of state, i. 
115; assailed by Van Ness, i. 
125; removed as secretary, i. 
151; restored, i. 154; removed, 
i. 165. 
Tompkins, Daniel D., nominated 
for governor, i. 155; character 
and career of, i. 158-61; com- 
pared with Clinton, i. 160-1; 
elected governor, i. 161-2; an 
issue dividing parties, i. 162; 
sustains embargo, i. 164; op- 
poses George Clinton for 
President, i. 166-7; renomi- 
nated for governor, i. 173; re- 
elected, i. 179; opposes banks, 
i. 194-5; ambitious to be Presi- 
dent, i. 197, 232, 238; prorogues 
Legislature, i. 197; opposes 
DeWitt Clinton for President, 
i. 201; renominated for gov- 
ernor, i. 212; attacked by Clin- 
ton, i. 213; re-elected, i. 215; 
at zenith of popularity, i. 215; 
jealous of Armstrong, i. 216; 
distrusts Spencer, i. 217; called 
the great war governor, i. 219; 
refuses to give Clinton active 
service in field, i. 220; re- 



elected, i. 223; efforts para- 
lysed by Federalists, i. 219-30; 
defeat of Federalists, 1. 226; 
calls extra session of Legis- 
lature, i. 226; vigorous prose- 
cution of war, i. 226; opposed 
Spencer, i. 233-4; relations 
with Spencer strained, i. 233; 
favoured Sanford for United 
States Senate, i. 233; Legisla- 
ture indorses him for Presi- 
dent, i. 235; re-elected gov- 
ernor, i. 236; opposed for 
President by Spencer, i. 237; 
offered place in Madison's 
cabinet, i. 237; reasons for de- 
clining, i. 238; Virginians 
create opposition to, i. 239; 
Van Buren's sly methods, i. 
240; nominated and elected 
Vice President, i. 240; did not 
favour Erie canal, i. 246; nomi- 
nated to beat Clinton, i. 274; 
majorities in prior elections, 
i. 275; shortage in war ac- 
counts, i. 275-82; effort to pre- 
vent nomination of, i. 275-8; 
Yates on, i. 279; insisted on 
fifth race, i. 279; handicapped 
by canal record, i. 279; de- 
feated, i. 281; sad closing of 
his life, i. 282; president con- 
stitutional convention of 1821, 
i. 299; willing to run for gov- 
ernor in 1822, i. 318. 
Tories, treatment of, i. 23; their 

flight to Nova Scotia, i. 26. 
Townsend, Henry A., character 
and career of, i. 217; member 
of Council, i. 217; supports 
Clinton for mayor, i. 217. 
Tracy, Albert H., gifts and 
career of, i. 372; in Congress, 
i. 372; mentioned for United 
States Senate, i. 372; ambitious 
for public life, i. 372; easy 
principles, i. 372; like Jeffer- 
son in appearance, i. 372-3; 
nominated for state senate, i. 
373; faithful to Weed, i. 379; 
presides at anti-masonic con- 
vention, i. 393; weakens after 
defeat, i. 397; Weed on, i. 
397; Seward on, i. 397, note; 
leaves Anti-Masons, i. 398; 
others follow, i. 399; with- 

draws from politics, ii. 38; 
loses chance of being Vice 
President and President, ii. 40. 

Tracy, John, nominated for 
lieutenant-governor in 1832, i. 
395; renominated in 1836, ii. 
11; elected, ii. 14; renominated 
in 1838, ii. 23; defeated, ii. 29. 

Treaty with England, 1795, ex- 
citement over, 1. 65; Jay's 
opinion of, i. 66; what it ac- 
complished, i. 67. 

Troup, Robert, in campaign of 
1789, i. 42. 

Tweed, William M., favours re- 
peal of Missouri Compromise, 
ii. 195. 

Tyler, John, nominated for Vice 
President, ii. 40; nobody else 
would take it, ii. 40; becomes 
President, ii. 47; turns against 
the Whigs, ii. 47-8. 

Ullman, Daniel, nominated for 
governor in 1854, ii. 202; 
career of, ii. 202; defeated, ii. 

Union College, founded by 
Joseph C. Yates, i. 249; Sew- 
ard, an alumnus of, i. 379. 

United States Bank, incorpora- 
tion of, i. 186; Clinton defeats 
extension of charter, i. 186; 
the great issue in 1832, i. 392; 
preferred to compromise than 
fight Jackson, i. 393; Webster 
and Clay objected, i. 393; Con- 
gress extends charter, i. 393; 
Jackson vetoes it, i. 393; 
creates fear of panic, 1. 400. 

United States Senate. See Sen- 
ate, United States. 

United States Senators. See 
Senators, United States. 

Van Buren, John, son of Martin 
Van Buren, ii. 128; career and 
gifts of, ii. 128-30; leading 
Free-soiler, ii. 128, 129, 141; 
reason for, ii. 129; Lord on, ii. 
128; Wilson on, ii. 130; Sey- 
mour afraid of,ii. 130; style of 
oratory, ii. 130; at Utica con- 
vention, ii. 131; appearance of, 
ii. 141; avenged his father's 
wrongs, ii. 144; compared to 



Seymour, ii. 150; opposed Sey- 
mour for nomination, ii. 172-3; 
supports him for governor in 
1852, ii. 177; advocates popu- 
lar sovereignty, ii. 250; opens 
way for Douglas in 1860, ii. 
Van Buren, Martin, supports De- 
Witt Clinton for President, i. 
206, 208; career, gifts, and 
character of, i. 206-10; com- 
pared with Clinton, i. 208; 
deserts Clinton, i. 212; energy 
in war of 1812, i. 232; made 
attorney-general, i. 232; op- 
posed by Spencer, i. 232; op- 
poses Spencer, i. 233; cunning 
support of Tompkins, i. 240; 
disturbed over Clinton's ac- 
tion, i. 247; adroit opposition, 
i. 248; outwitted by Spencer, 
i. 250; ludicrous picture of, i. 
250; urges building of canal, 
i. 251; makes war on Clinton, 
i. 255; sneers of Elisha Wil- 
liams, i. 255; Fellows-Allen 
case, i. 256; drives Clinton to 
bolt, i. 257-60; deprives Clin- 
ton of patronage, i. 260-1; si- 
lences opjKJsition to canal, i. 
261-2; prevents Spencer's 
nomination to United States 
Senate, i. 266-7; favours re- 
election of King, i. 268; reason 
for bold stand, i. 268-9; re- 
moved as attorney-general, i. 
273; an "arch scoundrel," i. 
273; calls Clintonians "politi- 
cal blacklegs," i. 274; effort to 
prevent Tompkins' nomina- 
tion, i. 275-8; Tompkins' war 
accounts, i. 276; confident of 
Tompkins' election, i. 281; dis- 
missal of postmasters, i. 285; 
the "prince of villains," i. 286; 
elected to United States Sen- 
ate, i. 286; Clinton's vitupera- 
tive allusions to, i. 286, note; 
selects Talcott, Marcy, and 
Butler, i. 291-3; conspicuous 
work in constitutional con- 
vention of 1821, i. 299-310; 
Crawford for President, i. 
324; outwitted by Weed, i. 339- 
40; weakened by Young's and 
Crawford's defeat, i. 344; non- 

committalism, i. 345-6, note; 
methods of Burr, i. 346; joins 
Clinton in support of Jackson, 
i. 346; conciliatory policy to- 
ward Clinton, i. 347; opposes 
Adams' administration, i. 348; 
a leader in United States Sen- 
ate, i. 349; parliamentary de- 
bates, i. 349-50, 365; organiser 
of modem Democratic party, 
i. 350, 365; John Q. Adams on, 
i. 350; equivocal support of 
Rochester, i. 352; re-elected to 
United States Senate, i. 353; 
Parton on, i. 353; Jackson on, 
i. 353; nominated for gov- 
ernor in 1828, i. 364, 367; 
cleverly divides opponents, i. 
364-5; appearance at church, i. 
365; puts Throop on ticket, i. 
365; acting governor Pitcher, i. 
366; strong friends, i. 367; 
elected, i. 368; seventy days a 
governor, i. 383; insincerity 
of, i. 383; secretary of state, 
i. 383; a politician's face, i. 
384; resigns from Cabinet, i. 
387; minister to England, i. 
387; rejected by Senate, i. 387- 
9; spoilsman, i. 389, note; on 
his rejection, i. 389-90; friends 
indignant, i. 390; nominated 
for Vice President, i. 391; 
tendered reception, i. 391; 
elected, i. 397; Dix's devotion 
to, ii. 4; Crockett's life of, ii. 
4; opponents of, ii. 4; Calhoun 
on, ii. 4; nominated for Presi- 
dent, ii. 4-5; attitude toward 
slavery, ii. 5, 10, 11; elected, ii. 
14; moral courage of, ii. 41; 
fearless statesman, ii. 41; re- 
nominated for President, ii. 
41; subtreasury scheme, ii. 41- 
2; defeat of, ii. 43-5; retire- 
ment to Lindenwald, ii. 46, 74; 
Texas question, ii. 65-9; Ham- 
met letter, ii. 66-7; Southern 
hostility, ii. 70; two-thirds 
rule, ii. 71, note; defeated at 
Baltimore, ii. 71-5; friends pro- 
scribed, ii. 94; a Barnburner, 
ii. 127; nominated for Presi- 
dent at Utica in 1848, ii. 131; 
indorsed by Buffalo conven- 
tion, ii. 133; Webster's pun, ii. 



133; Sumner on, ii. 133; de- 
feated, ii. 143-4; supports 
Pierce and Seymour in 1852, ii. 

Van Cortlandt, James, in first 
constitutional convention, i. 5. 

Van Cortlandt, John, in first 
constitutional convention, i. 5. 

Van Cortlandt, Philip, in first 
constitutional convention, i. 5. 

Van Cortlandt, Pierre, renomi- 
nated for lieutenant-governor 
in 1792, i. 51; supports DeWitt 
Clinton for President, i. 202. 

Van Ness, William P., on Liv- 
ingston's defeat, i. 83; with 
Burr in Albany, i. 103; prac- 
tises deception, i. 103; on Am- 
brose Spencer, i. 117; on the 
Council's treatment of Burr, 
i. 119; as "Aristides," i. 123-6; 
law teacher of Van Buren, i. 

Van Xess, William W., gifts and 
character of, i. 153; leads Fed- 
eralists against Clinton, i. 154; 
elected judge of Supreme 
Court, i. 157; mentioned for 
governor, i. 236; supports Clin- 
ton for governor in 1817, i. 248; 
asks Kent to stand for United 
States Senate, 1. 268; charged 
with hypocrisy, 1. 268; retires 
from Supreme Court, i. 323; 
early death of, i. 323. 

Van Eensselaer, Jacob E., char- 
acter and career of, i. 248; sup- 
ports Clinton for governor in 
1817, i. 248. 

Van Eensselaer, Jeremiah, lieu- 
tenant-governor, i. 180. 

Van Eensselaer, Solomon, ad- 
jutant-general, i. 287; sum- 
mary removal from office, i. 
287; service at Queenstown 
Heights, i. 293. 

Van Eensselaer, Stephen, candi- 
date for lieutenant-governor 
in 1798, i. 82; character and 
family of, i. 82; candidate for 
governor in 1801, i. 115; de- 
feated, i. 115; nominated for 
governor by Federalists, i. 213; 
record as a soldier, i. 214; Jef- 
ferson's opinion of, i. 214; in 
command at Queenstown 

Heights, i. 222; failure of, 
i. 222; resigns command, i. 
222; family and career of, 
i. 341; brother-in-law o f 
Hamilton, i. 342; established 
Troy Polyteehnical Institute, 
i. 342; in election of John 
Quincy Adams, i. 343; impor- 
tance of his action, i. 343. 

Van Vechten, Abraham, gifts 
and character of, i. 168-9; re- 
fused a Supreme Court judge- 
ship, i. 169; assails embargo, i. 
169; becomes attorney-general, 
i. 172; removed, i. 179; opposes 
State Bank, i. 188; work in 
constitutional convention of 
1821, i. 303. 

Verplanck, Gulian C, gifts and 
career of, i. 400; Whig candi- 
date for mayor of New York 
in 1834, i. 400; defeated, i. 401. 

Wadsworth, James, native of 
Connecticut, ii. 235; graduate 
of Yale, ii. 235; early settler 
in Genesee Valley, ii. 235; duel 
with Kane, ii. 235-6; interested 
in schools, ii. 235; wealthy and 
generous, ii. 235; averse to 
holding public office, ii. 235. 

Wadsworth, James S., son of 
James, ii. 236; graduate of 
Yale, ii. 236; studied law with 
Webster, ii. 236; gifts of, ii. 
236; appearance of, ii. 236; a 
Barnburner, ii. 236; ambitious 
to be governor, ii. 236; beaten 
by Weed, ii. 235-6; defeated for 
United States Senate, ii. 244; 
at peace congress, ii. 350. 

Walworth, Beuben H., appointed 
chancellor, i. 366; nominated 
for governor, ii. 134; career of, 
ii. 134; at Democratic state 
peace convention, ii. 355. 

Ward, Henry Dana, editor Anti- 
Masonic Review, i. 370. 

War of 1812, declared, i. 221; 
Federalists refused to sup- 
port, i. 220; soldiers poorly 
equipped, i. 220; Dearborn 
commands on Canadian 
border, i. 221; failure of plans, 
i. 222; offers to resign, i. 222; 
cowardice and loss at Queens- 



town Heights, i. 222; valour of 
Scott, i. 223; Armstrong's 
plans, i. 223; valour of Jacob 
Brown, 1. 223; battle at York, 
i. 223; dismal failures, 1. 223; 
Wilkinson relieves Dearborn, i. 
223; Hampton ordered to 
Plattsburgh, i. 224; complete 
failure of plans, i. 224; Buf- 
falo burned and Fort Niagara 
captured, i. 224; quarrels of 
generals and secretary of war, 
i. 224; Perry's victory, i. 225; 
Brown in command, i. 225; 
character and career of, i. 225- 
6; Scott promoted, i. 225; bat- 
tles at Chippewa, Lundy's 
Lane, Fort Erie, and Platts- 
burgh, i. 226; brilliant leader- 
ship, i. 227; Federalists talk of 
disunion, i. 227; Washington 
captured and banks suspend 
specie payments, i. 227; Hart- 
ford convention favours New 
England confederacy, i. 228; 
alarming condition of affairs, 
i. 229; battle of New Orleans, 
i. 229; treaty of peace, i. 229; 
valour of troops, i. 230. 
Washington, George, on inde- 
pendence, i. 2; not desired, i. 
2; on Schuyler, i. 18; on 
George Clinton, i. 22, 36; on 
Hamilton, i. 26; inauguration 
of, i. 44; appoints Jay chief 
justice of United States Su- 
preme Court, i. 114; on inland 
navigation in New York, i. 
Watson, James, supports Burr 
for governor, in 1792, i. 50; 
elected to United States Sen- 
ate, i. 70; service and char- 
acter of, i. 71. 
Webb, James Watson, leaves 
Jackson party in 1832, i. 393; 
editor of Courier and Enquirer, 
i. 393; career of, ii. 161-2; duel 
with Marshall, ii. 161; chal- 
lenges Cilley, ii. 161; appear- 
ance of, ii. 161; unites Courier 
with Enquirer, ii. 162; supports 
the Silver-Grays, ii. 162; de- 
feated for minister to Austria, 
ii. 162; candidate for United 
States Senate, ii. 161-2; in- 

dorses Weed's compromise, ii. 
Webster, Daniel, on Philip 
Schuyler, i. 18; teller at John 
Q. Adams' election, i. 343; de- 
feats Van Buren, i. 387; United 
States Bank, i. 393. 
Weed, Joel, father of Thurlow, 
i. 317; could not make a liv- 
ing, i. 317; moved five times in 
ten years, i. 317. 
Weed, Thurlow, on Albany Re- 
gency, i. 294; career, char- 
acter, and gifts of, i. 317-19; 
precocious, i. 318; friends of 
best people, i. 318; love match, 
i. 319; slow in getting estab- 
lished, i. 319; helped South- 
wick in 1822, i. 319; supports 
Adams in 1824, i. 324; opposes 
Clinton's removal, i. 328; sleep- 
less and tireless worker, i. 338 ; 
united friends of Clay and 
Adams, i. 338-9; well kept 
secret, i. 339; Van Buren hit, 
i. 340, 344; kept faith, i. 340-1; 
predicts Granger's defeat, i. 
368; accepted leader against 
Van Buren, i. 369-70; founded 
Anti-Masonic Enquirer, i. 370; a 
born fighter, i. 371; investi- 
gates crime of 1826, i. 370; 
selects able lieutenants, i. 371; 
incident of his poverty, i. 373; 
founds Evening Journal, i. 374; 
pungent paragraphs, i. 374, 
note; met Croswell in boy- 
hood, i. 374; rival editors 
estranged, i. 375; Croswell 
seeks aid of, i. 375; growth of 
the Journal, i. 375; "the Marey 
patch," i. 395; opposed to the 
United States Bank, i. 396, 
note; organisation of Whig 
party, i. 394-401; favours Sew- 
ard for governor in 1834, i. 401; 
on Democratic organisation, ii. 
2; Seward for governor in 1838, 
ii. 19-21; Fellows-Allen case, ii. 
22; Seward's election, ii. 29; 
Dictator, ii. 31-3, 36-8; creates 
trouble, ii. 38-9; carries state 
Senate, ii. 39; made state 
printer, ii. 39; supports Har- 
rison, ii. 40; unhappy in 1844, 
ii. 84-5; Clay's Alabama letter. 



ii. 87-8; opposed to Young for 
goTcrnor, ii. 118; for Taylor 
in 1848, ii. 135-7; treaks with 
Fillmore, ii. 148; assails Castle 
Garden meeting, ii. 157; de- 
feats Fillmore, ii. 66-7; favours 
Scott, ii. 166-7; Scott's defeat, 
ii. 178-9; Greeley's appeal to, 
for governor, ii. 198, note; op- 
posed to a Republican party in 
1854, ii. 200; at birth of party 
in 1855, ii. 213; criticised for 
delaying it, ii. 219-21; Sevfard 
and the Presidency, ii. 229-32; 
controlled election of United 
States senator in 1857, ii. 243-5; 
at Chicago convention, ii. 283; 
Bowles on, ii. 283; offered 
Lane money to carry Indiana, 
ii. 287, note; weeps over 
Seward's defeat, ii. 291; re- 
turns Greelej''s letter of 1854, 
ii. 311; denies seeing it, ii. 
318, 323; replies to it, ii. 318- 
23; predicts Lincoln's election, 
ii. 332; proposed compromise, 
ii. 336-44; Greeley opposed, ii. 
343; Lincoln opposed, ii. 344; 
work as a boss, ii. 362; rela- 
tions with Lincoln, ii. 362; 
opposed Greeley for United 
States Senate, ii. 363-5; 
strained relations with Harris, 
ii. 366; Barney's appointment, 
ii. 390-7. 

Wheaton, Henry, supports 
Adams in 1824, i. 324; gifts 
and career of, i. 324-5; edited 
National Advocate, i. 324; leader 
in People's party, i. 324; Clin- 
ton's dislike of, i. 330, note. 

Whig party, formed in 1834, i. 
399; name first used, i. 399; 
opponents of, i. 399; Webster 
on, i. 401; its first campaign, 
i. 399-401; first state conven- 
tion, i. "401; Seward its first 
candidate for governor, i. 401; 
hot campaign, i. 402-4; de- 
feated, i. 404; without a na- 
tional platform in 1840, ii. 40; 
log cabin campaign, ii. 43-5; 
its humiliation, ii. 47-54; de- 
feated by Clay's letter in 1844, 
ii. 89; divided into Radicals 
and Conservatives, ii. 116; 

elects Young governor, ii. 120; 
carries State in 1847, ii. 127; 
without platform in 1848, ii. 
138; carries State in 1848, ii. 
143; elects Seward United 
States senator, ii. 145-7; elects 
state officers in 1849, ii. 150; 
approves higher law speech, ii. 
153-5; nominated Hunt for 
governor in 1850, ii. 154; Sil- 
ver-Grays secede, ii. 155; Hunt 
elected, ii. 158; avoids sla- 
very issue in 1851, ii. 163-5; 
loses State, ii. 165; Greeley on, 
ii. 165-6; Fish on, ii. 166; de- 
feated in 1852, ii. 179; carries 
State in 1853, ii. 189; Clark 
nominated for governor, ii. 
199; elected, ii. 203; unites 
with Anti-Nebraska Demo- 
crats, ii. 194; see Republican 
Whig platform in 1852, Greeley 
on, ii. 175; Seward on, ii. 175. 
Whigs, during Revolution, i. 24; 

moderate and ultra, i. 24. 
White, Hugh L., candidate of 

southern Whigs in 1836, ii. 11. 
Whittlesey, Frederick, editor 
Rochester Repuhlican, i. 370; 
strong Anti-Mason, i. 370; con- 
fidence in Weed, i. 375. 
Wide-awakes, marching body of 
young men in 1860, ii. 328; 
their great number, ii. 328. 
Wilkin, James W., defeated for 
United States senator, i. 211; 
result of a bargain, i. 211-2. 
Wilkin, Samuel J., nominated 
for lieutenant-governor, ii. 80; 
character and career of, ii. 80; 
defeated, ii. 89. 
Wilkinson, James, commands 
on Canadian border, i. 223; 
career and character of, i. 223- 
4; fails, quarrels, and retires 
in disgrace, i. 235. 
Willet, Marinus, member first 
constitutional convention, i. 5; 
supports Burr in 1804, i. 138; 
appointed mayor of New York, 
i. 155; army service, i. 155, 184- 
5; removed from mayoralty, i. 
165; nominated for lieutenant- 
governor, i. 184; defeated, i. 
185; opposed Jackson for 



President, i. 357; presides at 
meeting, i. 357. 

Williams, Elisha, gifts and 
career of, i. 207; sneers at Van 
Buren, i. 255; opposes Tomp- 
kins' accounts, i. 276; member 
of constitutional convention of 
1821, i. 298; nominated for As- 
sembly in 1827, i. 358. 

Williams, Robert, in Council, i. 
171; known as Judas Iscariot, 
i. 173. 

Wilmot, David, chairman Chicago 
convention in 1860, ii. 282. 

Wilmot Proviso, supported by 
Preston King, ii. 102; the issue 
presented, ii. 126, note; voted 
down by Whig national con- 
vention In 1848, ii. 138. 

Wirt, William, Anti-Mason candi- 
date for President in 1832, i. 

Wood, Fernando, ambitious to 
be candidate for governor, ii. 
223; character of, ii. 323-4; 
early career of, ii. 233, note; 
withdraws from Democratic 
state convention, ii. 249; cap- 
tures state convention, ii. 257; 
a bold trick, ii. 257; at Charles- 
ton convention, ii. 270; goes 
with South, ii. 270; advocates 
secession of New York City, ii. 
348; Greeley on, Ii. 348-9. 

Wood, Julius, tells Seward of 
Greeley's hostility, ii. 284, 

Woodworth, John, defeated for 
Supreme Court, i. 156; de- 
feated for United States sena- 
tor, i. 156; removed as attor- 
ney-general, i. 165; Spencer 
favours restoration, i. 232; op- 
posed by Tompkins, i. 232. 

Wool, John E., at peace con- 
gress, ii. 350. 

Worth, Gorham A., banker, i. 
318; early friend of Weed, i. 
318; character of, i. 318. 

Wortman, Tennis, bitter oppo- 
nent of DeWitt Clinton, i. 181. 

Wright, Silas, member of Al- 
bany Regency, i. 294, 384; ap- 
pointed comptroller, i. 383; ap- 
pearance and gifts of, i. 384; 
career of, i. 384-5; holder of 

many ofBces, i. 385; knowledge 
of the tariff, i. 385; in United 
States Senate, ii. 1; writes for 
Argus, ii. 2; attitude toward 
slavery, ii. 11; re-elected to 
United States Senate, ii. 65; 
declines nomination to the 
United States Supreme Court, 
ii. 73; declines nomination for 
Vice President, ii. 73; nomi- 
nated for governor, ii. 76-8; 
compared with Fillmore, ii. 
80-1; elected, ii. 89; approves 
constitutional convention, ii. 
100; vetoes canal appropria- 
tion, ii. 101; bitterness against, 
ii. 114-5; renominated for gov- 
ernor in 1846, ii. 116; refused 
to pardon Anti-Renters, ii. 119; 
defeated, ii. 120; reasons for, 
ii. 121-3; retirement to farm, 
ii. 123-4; death of, ii. 124. 
Wyandotte constitution, see 

Yancey, William Ii., at Charles- 
ton convention, ii. 273. 

Yates, Abraham, in first consti- 
tutional convention, i. 5. 

Yates, John Van Ness, appointed 
recorder at Albany, i. 179; 
gifts and character of, i. 257; 
secretary of state, i. 321; 
nephew of governor, i. 321; on 
election of presidential elect- 
ors, i. 325. 

Yates, Joseph G., family, career, 
and character of, i. 248-9; 
founder of Union College, i> 
249; asked to stand for United 
States Senate, i. 268; on Tomp- 
kins, i. 279; nominated for 
governor in 1822, i. 312-3; op- 
posed by Southwick, i. 316; 
elected, i. 320; nepotism and 
ingratitude of, i. 321-2; op- 
poses election of presidential 
electors, i. 323; a political 
dodge, i. 325; beaten by the 
Regency, i. 327; revenge of, i. 
330; retirement of, i. 331. 

Yates, Richard, in first constitu- 
tional convention, i. 5. 

Yates, Robert, member first con- 
stitutional convention, i. 5; 
delegate to amend Articles of 



Confederation, i. 29; his fit- 
ness, i. 30; first choice of Clin- 
ton, i. 30 ; withdraws from con- 
Tention, i. 30; refuses to sig'n 
Federal Constitution, i. 31; in 
Poughkeepsie convention, i. 
33; nominated for governor, i. 
38; Hamilton on nomination 
of, i. 38-9; his character, career, 
and ability, i. 40-2; Burr's 
friendship for, i. 43; defeated 
for governor, i. 44; appointed 
chief justice, i. 45; nominated 
for governor, i. 64; retires 
from Supreme Court, i. 68. 
Young, John, member of Assem- 
bly, ii. 95; career and char- 
acter of, li. 95-6; gifts of, ii. 
96-7; sudden rise to power, ii. 
96-7; contest over fourth con- 
situtional convention, ii. 97- 
101; Seymour and, ii. 99; tri- 
umph of, ii. 99-100; carries 
canal appropriation, ii. 100; 
nominated for governor in 
1846, ii. 118; Weed unfriendly 
to, ii. 118; agreed to pardon 
Anti-Renters, ii. 118; course on 
Mexican war, ii. 119; elected 
governor, ii. 120; aspirant for 
Vice Presidency in 1848, ii. 

137; loss of prestige, ii. 139; 
death of, ii. 139. 
Young, Samuel, speaker of As- 
sembly, i. 232; failed to be- 
come secretary of state, i. 233; 
dislike of Clinton, i. 251-2; 
quarrels with Van Buren, i. 
254; Clinton refuses to recog- 
nise, i. 254; naakes war on 
Clinton, i. 255; candidate for 
United States Senate, i. 263; 
gifts and eloquence of, i. 265; 
failed in caucus, i. 266-7; num- 
ber of votes received, i. 267; in 
constitutional convention of 
1821, i. 299-310; ambitious to 
be governor in 1822, i. 313; bit- 
terness over Yates' nomina- 
tion, i. 314; supports Clay in 
1824, i. 324; nominated for 
governor in 1824, i. 327; great 
fight with Clinton, i. 332; de- 
feated, i. 333; later career of, i. 
333 ; adheres to Jackson party, 
i. 394; secretary of state, ii. 52; 
at Baltimore convention, ii. 72; 
defeated for secretary of state, 
ii. 92; attack on Hunkers, ii. 
104; at Utica convention, ii. 
131; death of, ii. 157; Greeley 
on, ii. 158.